Since 2003, the Chief Learning Officer Learning In Practice awards have recognized learning leaders who demonstrate excellence in the design and delivery of employee development programs through a combination of qualities such as leadership, vision, business acumen and strategic alignment.

The nomination period for the 2017 Learning In Practice Awards is closed and winners were announced at the award reception at the 2017 Fall CLO Symposium+Plus.

Nominations for the 2018 awards will open in May 2018.


If you have any questions about the awards, selection process or nomination form, contact

How to Enter the Learning In Practice Awards

Step 1: Login to the nomination entry portal.

Step 2: Select the category you wish to enter.

Step 3: Submit entry details for each entry. You will be required to enter nominee information (the person or company being nominated for an award), nominator information (the person to contact regarding status of the nomination) and a set of nomination questions.

Step 4: Pay entry fee and finalize submission.

For any questions regarding the awards, please send an email to

The Learning In Practice awards are given annually to practitioners and providers in recognition of excellence in learning and employee development. Gold, silver and bronze awards are awarded in two broad classes. Practitioner awards recognize CLOs and qualified senior learning leaders for their work within their organizations. Provider awards recognize qualified service providers, vendors, consultants for their work on behalf of a client organization.


For the learning executive who is without peer in developing and executing learning and development strategies, marshaling and managing resources and achieving measurable success. The CLO of the Year award recognizes executives for their body of work over the course of their career.

For learning executives who have implemented a significant measurement or evaluation program that has demonstrated exceptional business impact from their workforce development programs. Potential results may include measures of employee retention, sales, revenue growth, customer satisfaction or cost reduction, among others.

For learning departments that have partnered in a progressive way with business partners or external organizational divisions and functions such as the sales and marketing department or external customer groups to develop and deliver a targeted employee development program that supports the partner’s goals.

For learning executives who have marshaled resources and applied innovative practices, processes and/or technologies in a new and groundbreaking way to address a significant business or organizational opportunity.

For learning executives who have demonstrated exceptional business acumen combined with forward-looking vision to develop and execute a comprehensive learning strategy that clearly aligns employee development with broader organizational strategy.

For learning executives who have developed a program that effectively integrates learning into broader talent management initiatives such as employee engagement, onboarding, succession planning, recruiting or performance management.

For learning executives who have delivered new and unique applications of emerging technology to employee learning and development.

For learning executives who have either launched a new enterprise learning function or completely overhauled existing workforce development initiatives in the past year.


Excellence in Academic Partnerships Award recognizes accredited academic learning institutions that have partnered with an organization in the past year to develop skills, competency or knowledge in a general employee population.

Excellence in Blended Learning Award recognizes vendors that have deployed a variety of tools in support of a client’s learning program that delivers engaging learning combining multiple modalities.

Excellence in Community Service Award recognizes vendors that have provided significant investment of company resources and time in support of a community service project or initiative.

Excellence in Content Award recognizes vendors that have created superior customized and/or off-the-shelf learning content.

Excellence in E-Learning Award recognizes vendors that have rolled out an innovative and effective e-learning program or suite for a client.

Excellence in Executive Education Award recognizes executive education providers that have delivered a targeted executive education program for a client that has delivered measurable results.

Excellence in Technology Innovation recognizes vendors that have rolled out an innovative learning technology for a client such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, apps, video, social collaboration tools or games and simulations.

Excellence in Partnership Award recognizes vendors or consultants who have effectively supported a client’s learning and development function to set strategy or establish or implement a program via consulting or whole or partial outsources services.

What are the Learning In Practice awards?
Chief Learning Officer magazine’s Learning in Practice awards were developed to recognize industry leaders who have demonstrated excellence in the design and delivery of workforce learning and development programs.

Awards are given annually in two broad categories: practitioners and providers. Practitioner awards include seven individual awards, including the industry’s top honor, the CLO of the Year. Practitioner awards are further split into two divisions: Division 1 for organizations with more than 10,000 employees. Division 2 for organizations with less than 10,000 employees.

Provider awards include eight awards for qualified service providers, including vendors, consultants and partner organizations. There are no separate divisions for provider awards.

For a full listing of categories, visit the Categories tab.

Why is the CLO of the Year award different?
The CLO of the Year award is designed as a career recognition award and thus is designed to recognize a body of work, rather than a single initiative conducted in the past year. CLOs applying for this award may include work conducted on behalf of their organization outside of the one year period applied to the other award categories.

How are the provider awards different from the practitioner awards?
Besides recognizing vendors and service providers, the provider awards require nominees to describe work they have conducted on behalf of a client within the past year. In order to preserve the integrity of the award, that client must be named within the application.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the awards, selection or nomination? 

Inquiries can be directed to


Nomination FAQs

Who is eligible to apply?
The practitioner awards are reserved for practicing learning and development professionals at for-profit, nonprofit, government and academic organizations. The provider awards are reserved for vendors, consultants and partnering organizations that provides services to client organizations.

All awards, with the exception of the CLO of the Year award, recognize leaders and providers for initiatives conducted within the past year. So, for the 2017 awards, initiatives conducted anytime in 2016 up through May 2017 are eligible. Initiatives that were begun earlier are eligible so long as demonstrable results can be documented in the current award nomination period.

Can we nominate more than one person in the same application for a practitioner award?
No. With the exception of the Business Partnership award, all practitioner awards are designed to recognize the individual learning and development leader with responsibility for the initiative described in the nomination.

Can we apply for more than one award?
Yes. There is no limit on the number of awards you can apply for.

How do I apply for the awards?
There is an online application with available downloadable forms to preview nomination requirements. The nomination period for the 2018 Learning In Practice Awards will open in April 2018.  

Is there a cost to apply? How can I pay?
There is a $195 application processing and handling fee for practitioner categories. Provider categories are $495. When you complete the online application and click submit you will be required to pay the application fee with a credit card. Your application is not finalized until payment.


Judging FAQs

Who are the judges?
Judges include senior practitioners, learning and development experts, Chief Learning Officer editors and past award winners. Each nomination is reviewed by multiple judges to minimize bias.

What is the judging process and criteria?
A panel of judges has been established for each of the 16 categories of awards to ensure the entries can be judged consistently and fairly. Winners will be determined by averaging scores assigned by judges to each entry. In the event of a tie, a select group of judges will review competing entries to determine winners.

The scoring has been set up to be consistent across the award categories and judges will provide numerical scores for each of the following criteria:

Practitioner Awards:

Leadership: The degree to which the practitioner or team led the initiative, demonstrated by behaviors such as setting clear goals, providing guidance, coaching and support, working through obstacles and/or celebrating success.
Challenge: The scope, difficulty and size of the initiative.
Award-specific criteria: See category tab for description of award.

Provider Awards:

Ownership: The degree to which the provider took ownership of the client’s challenge, demonstrated by behaviors such as helping define outcomes, setting clear goals, providing guidance, working through obstacles and communicating challenges and successes.
Challenge: The scope, difficulty and size of the initiative.
Award-specific criteria: See category tab for description of award.

Each of the three award criteria is judged on a scale of 1 to 7:

6-7 (Breakthrough and/or Role Model): For learning practitioners or vendor companies considered “breakthroughs” and/or “role models” for the learning and development industry. The challenge is considered to be extreme (across an entire industry) or global (large numbers of learners, many stakeholders, very difficult to accomplish), and the nominees have demonstrated role-model leadership.

4-5 (Outstanding): For learning practitioners or vendor companies who did an outstanding job, met or exceeded all of the criteria as described and accomplished all goals. The complexity was significant and/or the nominees demonstrated clear leadership.

1-3 (Meets the criteria): For learning practitioners or vendor companies whose initiatives met the criteria, but did not or could not provide clear or reliable evidence to identify initiatives as breakthrough or outstanding.

0 (Does not meet the criteria): Did not meet the criteria established or failed to document how the criteria were met.


Winner FAQs

When will the winners be announced?
Finalists are announced in late July. At that point, finalists will know which category but not which level of award – gold, silver or bronze – they have received. The final awards will be announced during a special ceremony at the Fall CLO Symposium+PLUS event.

Is there an awards ceremony and is there a cost to attend?
The awards ceremony includes the awards presentation and keynote address from the outgoing CLO of the Year. Attendance to the awards ceremony is included with registration for the CLO Symposium+PLUS.

What do award winners receive?
Award winners will receive a specially designed award during the ceremony at the Fall CLO Symposium+PLUS. They will also be recognized in a special section in the December issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine.

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