Your Guide to Buying an Online Learning Platform for Your Association
Associations are seeing increased demand for online learning platforms, as they provide an excellent avenue in providing convenient and flexible options for members to complete their continuing education requirements. However, with so many online learning platforms to choose from, selecting a platform that meets your association’s needs–while also offering great value to your members–can be a daunting task.
Our buyer’s guide to online learning platforms will help you select a user-friendly online learning platform that will help your association achieve its continuing educational goals. In this guide, we will present the 4 key considerations for selecting a learning platform that best suits your association’s and your members’ needs:
1. Understand Your Association’s Goals for the Online Learning Platform
Before you begin to evaluate online learning platforms, make sure to take some time to establish your goals. These possibilities could include:
- Increasing member engagement & retention rates
- Maintaining your current position as the go-to source of high-quality continuing education
- Increasing non-dues revenue through online education courses and programs
- Reducing the amount of administrative work for your staff
To achieve the outcome your association is looking for, you’ll need to ensure that the online learning platform you select meets the requirements you set.
For a detailed guide on how to transition to online continuing education, click here.
2. Create a Positive Online Learning Experience for Your Members
Your online learning platform is your storefront; it’s the first thing your members will interact with when looking for continuing education courses online. Therefore, when evaluating online learning platforms, it is essential to view them from your members’ perspectives.
Keep the following in mind when determining if the platform you are considering is easy to use:
- How straightforward is it for you to complete a course?
- After testing the online learning platform, would you use it again?
- Did you leave with a positive experience?
- Does the platform remember where you left off? Can you resume your activities when you sign in again, or does it force you to start at the beginning?
- What does the site look like on different devices? Is the platform mobile responsive?
- If your members need help, how long do they have to wait?
Remember, your members’ online experience is the most critical component in your online continuing education program. If members have consistent negative experiences using your platform, chances are, they won’t come back! Even worse: they’ll tell fellow colleagues not to use your services. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, so make sure you choose wisely and leave your members satisfied.
3. Examine the E-commerce Functionality
Accepting payment for online continuing education courses is a crucial part of the process. Your members are accustomed to making payments online that are secure, accurate, and prompt. Ask yourself:
- Is the platform capable of offering tiered (member and non-member) pricing?
- Is it capable of offering coupons and discounts?
- Can it offer group pricing to sell courses in bulk?
If simply making the payment for a course is challenging and cumbersome, members will be less likely to view your platform favourably. So instead, choose an online learning platform that offers easy payment options and competitive deals–your members will thank you!
4. Research its Enrollment and Continuing Education Credit Tracking Capabilities
The online learning platform you select should automatically track course enrollment, course completion, and continuing education credits. Remember that an online learning platform should reduce the amount of administrative work for your association–not add to it!
Reporting is a critical function that your online learning platform should facilitate. Online learning reporting helps you collect data and monitor how your members are interacting with your platform.
Reporting can be done on mandatory training, assessments, learning progress, and activities, as well as provide general information on users and courses.
When reviewing the platform, check to see if your members can skip ahead in course videos–you want to ensure that the platform actively blocks members from skipping straight to the end of the video!
By keeping these 4 key considerations in mind when selecting an online learning platform, your association will be able to bring members new, accessible, and useful content for years to come–increasing your association’s revenue and value in the process!
Make sure to refer to this checklist regularly when selecting your online platform, and feel safe knowing that you’ll be making an informed decision for your association. Now, go forth and find the best platform for your association!