5 eLearning Implementation Best Practices for Associations
If your association is looking for more ways to facilitate your members’ professional development and encourage them to take active roles in all that your association has to offer, you’ll want to consider providing them with eLearning opportunities.
Effective eLearning targets your members’ most pressing continuing education needs and presents courses in a captivating way.
eLearning helps your association improve your members’ engagement by providing them with a valuable resource for their growth and keeping them informed in their field. You can utilize your association learning management system (LMS) and other platforms.
Let’s take a look at how your association can get started providing eLearning opportunities for your members. To implement your eLearning system successfully, you’ll need to:
- Choose an association LMS that will suit your members’ needs.
- Provide members with the opportunity to earn and track professional certifications.
- Notify members when new courses are available to them.
- Promote social learning opportunities and live learning events.
- Share learning opportunities on your association’s website.
The first step in getting your members started with eLearning is to choose the right association LMS to suit their needs. When the learning experience is personalized, they’ll be motivated and engaged.
1. Choose an association LMS that will suit your members’ needs.
The best association LMS will positively impact both your members’ learning experience and your education team’s work to create and distribute course content. Look for a modern LMS that incentivizes course progress and completion for your members and communicates with the association software you’re already using.
Choose an association LMS that helps your members get excited about completing courses through:
- High-quality content. Content is king in eLearning, and you are the expert in your field. Provide high-quality content to keep your learners motivated to complete courses and come back to you for more. Look for an association LMS that makes it easy to get your content up and running quickly, without sacrificing quality.
- Interactive learning experiences. Interactive course authoring capabilities like being able to add interactions to videos and drag-and-drop experiences help learners retain more information than they would reading or watching alone. When members enjoy the learning experience, they’ll be motivated to complete more courses.
- Gamification elements. Everyone loves a little friendly competition or a challenge to beat your personal best! Scoreboards and other gamification elements keep members motivated throughout their courses, while completion badges that they can display on their profiles in your association management system (AMS) increase their engagement with their fellow members.
The right association LMS facilitates your members’ professional development, engages them in your association’s offerings, and provides them with the opportunity to share valuable information about their areas of expertise with their colleagues. When your LMS and AMS are integrated, sharing this information becomes even easier.
2. Provide members with the opportunity to earn and display professional certifications.
The certifications and credits that your members earn when they complete courses using your association LMS are important indications of their professional standing. In certain fields such as healthcare, these certifications are often required for maintaining their career and potential advancement in their fields. Help your members progress in their careers by selecting an association LMS that they can use to earn and track necessary professional certifications.
As you compare eLearning systems for your association, look for one that facilitates the certification process by:
- Encouraging course completion. When members know that their profiles in your AMS will be updated automatically to reflect the courses they’ve completed and the certifications they’ve earned, they’ll be motivated to participate in your continuing education offerings.
- Show CE records. Many of the accreditation bodies need to see continuing education records from the past three years, so ensure that members are able to self-report courses they’ve completed and certifications they’ve earned on their profiles and upload transcripts from previous eLearning systems they’ve used.
- Connect with other members. One of the major benefits of membership in your organization is the opportunity for networking with other professionals in the same and related fields. When members are able to earn and display their certifications, they’ll know who may be a valuable connection or resource just by browsing their colleagues’ profiles.
An effective eLearning system makes earning required certifications more convenient for your members, helping to remove potential barriers in the way of their career development. To learn more about granting professional certifications through an association LMS, you can visit Web Courseworks to see how the process works for healthcare associations.
When your members learn that using your association LMS to complete courses is both enjoyable and valuable, they’ll want to enroll in more. Make sure that your members are made aware whenever new courses become available to them.
3. Notify members when new courses are available to them.
Creating new courses is an important component of your association’s mission to facilitate continuing education opportunities for your members. The first step is selecting an association LMS that makes it easy for your team to develop effective ways of presenting the material they most need to learn. You’ll also want to use your LMS and other software systems to send automated notifications and reminders to your members.
For the most effective communications, choose an association LMS that integrates with your membership management system and can help you:
- Provide an adaptive learning experience. Help your members continue gaining valuable knowledge and skills in a specific field or subfield by selecting an association LMS that recommends them future courses to take based on their history in the LMS, past purchases, interests, and more.
- Automate your communications. Both your association LMS and your AMS can help you communicate with your members more efficiently by allowing you to set up automated email notifications and reminders.
- Facilitate course purchasing and registration. Purchasing and enrolling in new courses shouldn’t be inconvenient for your members. Choose an association LMS that automates parts of those processes to save them time and energy.
With an up-to-date LMS (and potentially new membership management software as well, to make more effective use of your integrated software systems), your association is sure to meet your learners’ needs. You can even make their experience a collaborative one through social learning opportunities.
4. Promote social learning opportunities and live learning events.
Everyone’s preferred learning style is unique, and everyone can benefit from engaging more deeply with the material they’re learning by discussing it with others. Choose an association LMS that facilitates social learning on the platform and allows members to register for live learning events.
When your learners have the opportunity to participate in social learning opportunities, they’ll retain more of the information they learn and be more motivated to complete additional courses. Your association LMS can help by incorporating:
- Discussion boards and live chat features. Learners participating in an online course can take advantage of these features to discuss the material with each other, gaining new perspectives and better understanding.
- Registration for live learning events. Host a live learning event for members who live nearby to attend. They’ll be able to meet each other, collaborate in person, and learn more about your association. Publicize the event in your association’s communications to increase attendance.
- Materials from past live learning events. Your online learners are likely spread out all over the country, if not the world, so they won’t all be able to attend your live learning events. However, this doesn’t mean they have to miss out! Make sure that your association LMS allows you to upload materials distributed at the event so that online learners can access them, too.
- Updating members on future learning events. Even if all the details aren’t ironed out yet, it’s still a good idea to let your association members know when and where your learning events will be held as early as possible. As presenters, topics, and times are being finalized, you can find a conference management software that helps you manage other elements of your conference like reviewing submissions.
When you’re able to engage all of your online learners in social learning opportunities and even bring them together at live learning events, they’ll have a more memorable and enjoyable experience.
This is easiest to accomplish when your association LMS and membership management software are communicating to help carry out your event. If your membership management solution is built on Salesforce, you can check out re:Charity’s list of the top Salesforce apps to find the right software for facilitating your live learning event.
To make sure that your members make good use of the courses, events, and other learning opportunities that your association offers them, don’t forget to share them on your association’s website!
5. Share learning opportunities on your association’s website.
Your website is a hub for news about your association and information on all of the ways your members can choose to get involved. A clean, modern site that offers easy access to all the features of your AMS and association LMS will motivate members to take part in the continuing education offerings your association provides.
Whether your association has recently updated your site or you simply think it may be time to revamp your online presence, you’ll want to make sure that your site offers:
- An engaging site design. Have new courses to offer or other exciting information about your association? Ensure that all of your updates are clearly presented on your website and that members can easily navigate to your most-used site areas. If you’re looking for guidance or inspiration, you can check out some effective web design tips here.
- Access to members-only content. Members should be able to login securely to their courses on your association LMS, their member profiles on your AMS, and other protected areas via links on your website. To make the process convenient for them, make sure that they can get wherever they need to go in just a few clicks.
- Mobile functionality. Your members are busy professionals and often on the go, so make sure that they can access your site from their smartphones. You’ll also want to choose an association LMS that allows them to complete coursework on their mobile devices so that they can continue learning from wherever they may be.
By choosing an excellent eLearning platform and incorporating it into an effective network of software solutions, your association can transform your members’ experience. You’ll encourage them to become lifelong learners and motivate them to take part in the opportunities your association creates for them.
When your association provides your members with quality eLearning opportunities, you’re demonstrating that you value their continuing education and professional success. The right association LMS is sure to improve your learners’ experience and encourage them to grow.
Amber Bovenmyer is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Web Courseworks. She’s committed to helping association executives realize the potential of their education programs and turn them into high performing revenue generators. Amber was named one of Madison, Wisconsin’s 40 under 40 and the number 1 LMS salesperson by Talented Learning.
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