Become the Go-to Continuing Education Resource for Your Members
Association members today have countless options to explore when wanting to further their continuing education (CE) and develop their careers.
For convenience and simplicity, many rely on their association to provide them with these opportunities.
In fact, many members go to their associations first for professional development!
For obvious reasons, associations should be ready, willing, and able to answer the call.
It may sound difficult to become the landing spot for all your members’ continuing education needs, but it can be done with the right LMS and the right plan.
Optimizing your CE system is more than just providing great content; associations need their entire system and all of their processes working toward the same goal.
The results will speak for themselves: increased revenue and more engaged members!
To get your association’s CE on the right path, follow the steps below:
1. Connect Everything
Your continuing education platform shouldn’t be an island.
Ensure that your CE is interconnected with your entire system–including your event center, career services, and CRM software.
With proper integration, members are able to access your association’s store, job board, and main page directly from the CE platform, allowing these sections to work together to enhance the user experience.
Your continuing education platform should look and act the same as your main website–you want to provide the most seamless transition possible! Ideally, users shouldn’t even notice they are going between different platforms.
The easy exchange of data across your entire system allows for additional benefits, including single sign-on (one login for everything!) and a better shopping experience overall.
2. Get Social
Your association should also consider integrating various social systems, like connecting their CE to social media and establishing a member forum. Continuing education isn’t only courses and training, after all; social learning in peer discussions and communities can offer some of the most valuable and relevant lessons available!
Consider creating a course-related forum section for current and past learners to discuss the material–or even open the forum up to all members! You can even mix and match with specific threads within your forum. Encourage discussions by posting think pieces, industry news, and relevant topics.
With social media, learners can share about their learning experiences, which can grant them validation and support. Additionally, by creating a digital badging system, members can showcase the training and certifications they’ve completed on social media, member forums, and job boards–promoting their achievements and your CE all at once!
3. Personalize It
The most effective learning systems organize their entire experience around each individual user.
The advanced AI present in many learning management systems today can create personalized learning recommendations for members based on usage and interests. For example, course and certification suggestions can be generated based on past job searches, showing members what training is a prerequisite or could give them an advantage. This can work for non-members as well–effectively turning your LMS into a recruitment tool!
Don’t be afraid to ask members for more information about their likes, interests, and goals, either. You can use this information and create a personalized development path as well. Offer them training in the formats that appeal to them most, suggest training that might serve some of their objectives, and provide recommendations that can give them a helpful career boost.
4. Support and Evolve
Even with the most intuitive LMS, members will still need support from time to time. Make sure that your association’s lines of communication are open, that your instructions are clear and easy to understand, that there is someone to contact when necessary, and that training and support resources are easily accessible.
This goes beyond technical support, however; members can also benefit from continuing education support. Provide assistance and advice for members as they plan their careers and educational development paths; a little help can lead to a lot of loyalty!
Next, you want your association to be at the forefront of your industry. Your courses need to evolve over time, and your materials need to be updated to reflect any changes in the industry. If compliance regulations shift, be sure to offer courses and training that allow members to update and maintain their skills.
Be sure to incorporate the latest in learning trends and technologies–your members want you to be cutting-edge, and keeping your courses (and platform!) modern will go a long way. Keep your content as up-to-date as possible so that members will be confident in your CE and your association overall.
5. Create New Opportunities
To get the most out of a training course, associations may need to advertise it and offer it in various ways. Consider making your in-person conferences hybrid, which can improve attendance, engagement, and revenue generation. When it comes to online sessions, record them! You can then use the resulting videos to make fast, easy on-demand courses for members.
Associations can also look at repacking and repurposing older courses with newer ones to help renew interest in past content. Try offering different price levels for different groups–member tiers can create an additional revenue stream and let members pick the plan that’s right for them. That’s instant personalization!
Finally, pin any training that is related to current industry news or changes–this highlights the importance of both the item and your CE. The most important content is that which is evergreen (always relevant) and that which is relevant to the now. Be creative with it! Filling niches is one of the best things an association can do.
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When it comes down to it, becoming the go-to continuing education resource for your members is a goal that can be achieved with the right tools, strategies, and dedication.
Combine the right LMS with a well-thought-out plan, and you can provide your members with the best CE experience around, rewarding your members with new skills and your association with repeat renewals for years to come!