Members look to your association to be a leader, especially when it comes to continuing education, certifications, and credentials. According to the latest Community Brands research, 51% of members prioritize both training opportunities and certifications or credentials as a top membership benefit.
More members are turning to their associations for professional development opportunities. Associations are becoming the top source for continuing education content. However, 77% of members believe if an organization doesn’t innovate, it will no longer be a go-to source for professional development.
With such a big responsibility, are you prepared to be the best continuing education resource in your industry? We’re here to help! Read our blog for helpful strategies to take your continuing education program to the next level.
How to support members with your continuing education program
Members’ needs and expectations evolve as they move through their careers. Community Brands research found that 63% of members in their early careers are looking for training and 57% want certifications. Training and certifications remain a top priority for members in their mid and late careers. Respectively, 56% and 53% of mid-careerists prioritize training and certifications, while 50% and 42% of late-careerists value certifications and training.
During each step of the membership journey, you want members to look to your association for support. Here are four tips and tricks to take your continuing education program to the next level:
1. Lead the way
Give your members a learning roadmap complete with ample opportunities to test and prove their knowledge via certifications and digital badging. Coupled with fresh, innovative content, your members will be able to take full advantage of your engaging and useful learning system.
Your continuing education program can lead the pack with the following LMS features:
- Assessments. Offer simulated self-prep so members can create their own tests based on recommendations, boosting learner retention.
- Course tracking. Make it easy for staff to track learning credits and grant and manage learner certificates to match any e-learning standard.
- Digital Badging. Create digital badges for members who complete learning objectives or courses. Ensure these badges can be shared via social media, on your member portal, and on your job board.
- Content creation. Stay on top of the latest learning trends by delivering industry-leading professional education through expertly designed, quality content in a variety of formats.
2. Enhance value
Your members already value your continuing education program. The more benefits you can offer your members when choosing your association for professional development, the more likely they’ll renew their membership and promote your organization to their professional contacts.
When your continuing education program offers innovative features, you’ll create lifelong members and lifelong learners. Take your continuing education program to the next level by leveraging the right technology.
Look for learning management software (LMS) that offers the following:
- Scalable learning. To attract more learners and boost membership, look for an LMS that offers a variety of learning opportunities in an array of formats. The right LMS will make it easy to include on-demand courses, webinars, rebroadcasts, and livestreamed content.
- Learning recommendations. Find an LMS that recommends personalized content, courses, and certifications for each member.
- Integration options. Create a seamless user experience by connecting your LMS with your association management software (AMS), online job board, and event management software.
- Centralized learning hub. Simplify course creation and streamline the administration of your content. Build a learning portal that mirrors the look and feel of your association’s branding, so learners don’t feel a disconnect between your association page to your learning program.
3. Empower your learners
Let your learners be in control of their professional development. By providing an LMS that can help members throughout their careers, you’ll be offering a tool that will keep them coming back year after year.
Look for an LMS that offers:
- Interactive learning features. To drive member engagement and offer a superior learning experience, you’ll want an LMS that offers interactive features like live chat, polls, Q&A, and more.
- Social learning. Look for an LMS that provides a social learning community complete with open learning forums and peer discussions.
- Professional guidance. Personalized learning paths make it easy for learners to set objectives and complete certifications, leading them down a chosen career path.
4. Focus on the future
When reviewing your LMS or searching for a new one, make sure you pay special attention to your future processes and usability.
Having an LMS with these features will help your continuing education program excel:
- Modern e-commerce. Sync your LMS with your e-commerce page for easy purchase management and streamlined course check-outs.
- Create more learning opportunities. Make it easy for larger groups or chapters to purchase access to a select number of seats for your learning courses.
- Re-purpose content. Segment and resell content to members and member organizations with differentiated pricing to provide additional revenue opportunities for your association and additional learning opportunities for your members.