Double award win for learning talent at Sponge

Kate Nicholls, Head of Innovation at leading learning company, Sponge UK has won a second award recognising her talent as a digital learning designer.

At the Learning and Performance Institute’s (LPI) Learning Awards, she was named Learning Professional of the Year (bronze winner) at a gala evening on Thursday, February 2 at The Dorchester, London.

It’s her second major award after taking the gold prize for Learning Technologies Designer of the Year at the Learning Technologies Awards 2016-17.

Working with some of the biggest global brands like Toyota, Tesco and Google, Kate is pioneering new technologies and approaches to make digital learning more inspiring and successful.

“Now that my role is in innovation, I tend to focus on finding ways to exploit cutting-edge applications of technology for learning,” said Kate. “I am able to ask ‘What If?’ to drive more courageous and mould-breaking solutions. One of the barriers to innovative and effective workplace learning is the way work is commissioned. We need to avoid baking the solution in as a foregone conclusion if we want to open up the possibilities.”

Most recently, Kate has worked on a year-long project to explore the learning applications of interactive 360° video and virtual reality (VR). She presented a seminar of the topic at Learning Technologies 2017, Europe’s biggest L&D event, on February 1, 2017 at London Olympia.

She said: “My starting point for the project was a question: Can 360° content aid learning, and if so, how? By combining elearning tools with the latest 360° filming techniques, we’ve been able to add an interactive layer to 360° video. This innovation is opening up the learning potential of 360° and VR and making the technology more accessible for organisations.”

The Learning and Performance Institute host its annual Learning Awards to recognise outstanding examples of high standards, best practice, innovation and excellence in Learning and Development.

Speaking at the Learning Awards ceremony, LPI Managing Director, Ed Monk, said: “With a record number of entries this year, over 400, to be a finalist is in itself an outstanding achievement. I hope that your organisations are proud of you and the real impact you have had on the performance of the business. Tonight, there are no winners and losers. You are all ‘the best of the best’.”

Kate, who attended Plymouth College, is based at Plymouth Science Park where Sponge UK has its headquarters. The business employs around 80 people and is the fastest growing company on the park.