There was some excellent news for the online education sector at this year’s Learning Technologies Awards. CAPSLOCK, a cyber security start-up that helps adults reskill online and land jobs in the industry, took home the Gold award in the ‘Best Online Distance Learning Programme’ category.
The Learning Technologies Awards celebrate the global learning and development industry, spotlighting “excellence in learning technologies” in the UK and worldwide.
This year’s awards took place on the 16th November in London and were hosted by comedians Jo Brand and Deborah Frances-White.
At the awards ceremony, CAPSLOCK won the Gold award for the Best Online Distance Learning Programme, with TEO claiming the Silver award and Holland & Barrett receiving the Bronze.
The judges’ decision to name CAPSLOCK Gold award winners cited “good feedback from external bodies, a great focus on providing reskilling / change of career opportunities for learners, great completion rates, and an innovative and affordable way of paying for the learning.”
CAPSLOCK were nominated for the award by Ufi Ventures, the investment arm of Ufi VocTech Trust and one of CAPSLOCK’s investors. Helen Gironi, Director of Ventures at Ufi, said:
“We are delighted to see further recognition of CAPSLOCK’s brilliant learning programme. It is a resounding success, transforming people’s lives and career trajectories due to its accessibility, high-quality content and delivery. The company is providing the UK economy with crucial cyber skills, one of the most sought-after tech skills in the UK. We were thrilled to celebrate with the team at this year’s Learning Technology Awards.”
Speaking about their win, CAPSLOCK Co-founder Lorna Armitage said:
“We were so thrilled to win the Gold award. There’s a video on our social media channels of the moment our name was called and you can hear exactly how excited we were to win (swear warning!).
We created CAPSLOCK to change the cyber education landscape and help a diverse array of people from all backgrounds switch careers to cyber, not necessarily to win awards, but being publicly commended for our successes in this way has been a very proud moment for us.”
So, what makes CAPSLOCK’s cyber bootcamps award-winning? Co-founder Dr. Andrea Cullen said:
“We built the curriculum in collaboration with some of the largest UK cyber employers, ensuring our learners gain the practical skills and experience employers need right now. Winning this prestigious award is another achievement which shows we’re moving in the right direction. Also, getting to meet Jo Brand was a serious ‘pinch me’ moment!”
The decision for CAPSLOCK to be an entirely remote provider of online education was made so that there would be no location-based constraints around the learning, allowing them to deliver reskilling opportunities to anyone with Wifi.
CAPSLOCK classes revolve around Team-based Learning and Problem-based Learning, meaning learners work towards solving real-world cyber security problems as part of a small team. This simulates a realistic working environment, and creates an immersive learning experience which encourages collaboration between learners.
The CAPSLOCK digital campus integrates some of the most effective online learning tools into one place, including a Zoom-based virtual classroom, custom LTI integrations with the Learning Management System, online libraries and virtual lab platforms.
As noted by the Learning Technologies Awards judges, CAPSLOCK are committed to reducing the financial barriers associated with education. Instead of paying traditional up-front tuition fees, learners can opt to repay a percentage of their future income after they graduate, and only once they are earning over £25,000 a year. This arrangement is known as a ‘Shared Income Agreement, and CAPSLOCK have deferred £2.2 million in tuition fees to date via this model.
Online learning hasn’t always had a great reputation, with skeptics questioning how sitting behind a computer can beat real-life, face-to-face education.
However, CAPSLOCK and other innovative online training providers are proving that the use of appropriate technology and learning methodologies, combined with accessible and affordable courses, is changing the face of education as we know it.