Members choose their association as the “go-to” source for training and education. In fact, according to our 2018 Member Education and Career Development Report, 85 percent of members look to associations for professional development opportunities.
So, how do you offer a top-notch continuing education program that delivers the experience your members want? Here are three tips to get you started:
One: Start Small
Whether you’re starting a continuing education program from scratch or adding to an existing program, it can be overwhelming to build everything you want and everything your members are asking for, all at once. Ensure higher-quality results by starting simple at first, and then growing over time. For example:When it comes to technology, you might start with a learning management system (LMS) and office management tools. Later, you might integrate your LMS with your association management software (AMS), and then add other technology, such as a digital badging platform.
- For content packaging and pricing, you might begin by offering individual courses, and then later offering bundled courses on similar topics, subscription-based courses that deliver new content over time, and even free courses that you can use as a marketing hook to bring in new members.
- If you have an international audience with members who speak English as a second language, you might start by simplifying the language used in your content and asking narrators to speak more slowly. Later, you might take it further by translating content into other language.
Two: Pick the Right Solution Partners for Your Needs
Take the time to find the right mix of solution partners – from technology providers to content providers. Be sure to do your due diligence by asking questions, reviewing product demos, and ultimately making sure they’re aligned with your association’s mission and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Three: Continue to Reassess
Regularly re-evaluate your continuing education program to ensure it’s meeting your goals and your members’ needs, and then experiment with new approaches. A few areas to consider:
- Content delivery – Could you offer some of your in-person content online? Could you reorganize your learning portal so content is easier for members to find?
- Packaging and pricing – Would grouping similar courses into bundled packages deliver a more attractive member benefit? Could you adjust content pricing to align with the nature of the content or based on what your competitors are doing?
- Technology – Are your technology solutions still meeting your needs? Is it time to evaluate alternate solutions? Are there ways to integrate some of your systems – for example, your LMS and AMS, to provide a better member experience?
Learn more about how to deliver the continuing education experience your members want. Watch the recorded webinar, “Rising Above Continuing Education Barriers: How to Overcome Innovation Obstacles.”