Don’t blink! Because, trends within the association market are changing so swiftly, you just might miss them!
Technology is improving the way associations function, while new generations joining the workforce are not only impacting how associations need to deliver online content, but also the speed at which you deliver it.
Association staffers are being forced to venture outside of the conventional methods in which you’ve always delivered online learning, into an area now known as ”just-in-time” learning.
First, a quick look at definitions. Historically, associations have built online learning catalogs that have been top-heavy with “just-in-case” content that members consume, as needed, for credentialing or certification requirements. While this type of learning is still important, “just-in-time” learning focuses on the idea that learning should be available at the point it needs to be applied, and also be short, and easily consumed. Confused? Just think of the last time you headed to YouTube for a quick video tutorial on something you were trying to bake or build. You were “just-in-time learning” without even knowing it.
Chances are, for the majority of everyday tasks, in or outside of work, you can probably find a video in the form of “nano-learning,” that teaches you at least the basic principles to get you started. Moreover, the speed at which you can find the video likely increases your efficiency and productivity in whatever you’re trying to learn or achieve.
Now, think back about 15 or so years. What did you do when you needed to learn something new? Maybe you took a course, or read an entire book or manual. Heck, maybe you even went back to school. But, you certainly didn’t expect to find thousands of online videos that gave you exactly what you were looking for, at the exact moment you needed it. And, you would never expect to get the information as quickly as you do now.
Technology has, to say the least, been a game-changer, setting our expectations of informational accessibility so high that if you’re not keeping up, you’re quickly left behind. Which of course, is a scary thought when you think about the future of your association, and the technological agility that you’ll need to embrace to stay on trend.
So, how do you go about meeting these demands? Associations have to adjust to a fast-paced, need-it-now group of members who are demanding content that’s easily found and quickly consumed. Progressive associations are finding a happy medium that blends the old with the new.
Your library of content filled with “just-in-case” programming is still as important as it always was. After all, that’s your wheelhouse, and arguably the primary benefit for which your members look to you. However, building out “just-in-time” programs that contain short, nano-bite video snippets will only make your traditional catalog offerings that much stronger, especially against your competitors.
And, bonus: Don’t forget about the breadcrumb methodology. Let’s say you put together a two-minute, how-to video for your members, but you also have an upcoming hour-long, deeper dive webinar that will also give your members continuing education credit for attending. Leave some breadcrumbs that direct members watching the nano-video to register for the deep-dive session.
And, perhaps the greatest benefit to any association embracing this new learning model is the idea that your members will begin to view your association in a new light. You won’t just be seen as a resource for meeting demands required of them by their state or their profession. You’ll begin to be a search engine for them, at which they can efficiently return the information they’re seeking.
Sure, members are supposed to actually learn when they complete their credentialing requirements, and most of them probably do, but the difference is free will. By offering short, module-based learning resources that your members use, not because they have to, but because they want to for their own personal and professional gain, you’ve deepened the relationship with your members and added yet another benefit to your list of offerings.
As technology continues to improve and the speed at which we expect to find and consume content increases exponentially, association leaders have to grab hold of the endless opportunities that emerging learning trends, like just-in-time, offer. Not only are you staying in tune to technological advancements, but you’re nurturing relationships with your members by responding to their view of the world.