It’s that time of year when our association experts here at Abila gaze into their crystal ball and make predictions about trends and changes they foresee for 2017. One prediction for this year is that education will be a focal point.

As an association professional, education may be somewhere on your radar, but as our 2017 Association Predictions indicate, this year we suspect it might become your top priority.

Learning is an important differentiator for associations, and more and more we’re seeing the emergence of the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) as a strategic role. By having someone in this leadership position, an organization is demonstrating a greater emphasis on the value of continuing education for its staff and members. We believe the areas of focus for this role should be on-demand, online, and mobile learning opportunities.

We also predict the value of professional certifications will be on the rise, since members value education across all age groups and career stages. As a matter of fact, according to our research, Millennials, Generation Xers, and Matures all identify training and/or credentialing as one of the top three most important benefits they receive from the associations they join.

The last component of the prediction is that educational offerings for the public at-large and not just your members, will be a big revenue driver for associations.

So what can you do to take action, right now, around these predictions?

Most associations sit on a wealth of content and knowledge that members are looking to access. The start of a new year is a great opportunity for you and your organization to reevaluate your approach to online learning. Take a look at the experience and data you have from the past year and determine if there are opportunities to introduce new, relevant certifications and training. It may also be time to explore purpose-built technologies that can help you easily package and deliver your content in a variety of ways.

These efforts will help you increase member satisfaction, deepen engagement with your association, and grow an emerging revenue stream for your organization.

Interested in learning more about this and other trends impacting the association sector in 2017? Download our association predictions, and join us on Thursday, January 26, for our webinar, “#TrendingNow: Association Trends to Watch in 2017.” We’ll not only discuss what’s new for the year ahead, you’ll get one hour of CAE credit just for attending.