6 Tips to Engage Association Members with Learning Activities

engage association members

When executives were asked why members don't renew their memberships, they listed lack of engagement as the top reason. Engagement—or a lack thereof—can make or break an association. Networking, continuing education, professional certification, and learning best practices in their industry are among the most common reasons that professionals join associations.

When associations live up to these expectations, they develop strong relationships with members, ensuring that they'll pay their dues and come back year after year. Members are the glue that holds associations together, and engaged members allow associations to meet their full potential.

While there are many ways that associations can boost engagement, providing value to members through learning activities is one of the most effective ways to do so. They can leverage their LMS to deliver learning activities that will help their members go further in their careers and solidify their connection to the association.

In this article, we look at a few ways that associations can use learning activities to engage association members.

1. Prioritize Continuing Education

To further their professional development is one of the primary reasons that people join associations. Encouraging members to become lifelong learners by making learning opportunities a central part of your association will pay dividends well into the future by keeping them engaged and connected to your organization.

When new members join, welcome them with an email outlining your association's learning opportunities. Doing so early in your relationship will give new members an idea of the value that you offer, increasing the likelihood that they'll participate in events in the future.

Offering educational opportunities isn't enough, though; associations must ensure that the courses are relevant and enable members to develop their professional skills. It's a good idea to provide a mix of courses, including webinars with engaging presentations that encourage interaction among members.

To establish expertise on a subject and further engage association members, organizations can consider writing white papers that share their knowledge of topics important to their members.

2. Develop an E-learning Program to Maximize Learning Opportunities

Between work and personal obligations, association members are busy and may not always be available for in-person learning programs. E-learning programs help solve this problem by making learning convenient and enabling members to learn at their own pace, wherever they are.

A major concern when designing online courses is keeping members engaged. After all, when there's a screen separating members from the content and no in-person interaction with thought leaders and fellow members, how do you encourage them to participate in the course?

Your organization's LMS will be critical in helping you develop and deliver an e-learning program to engage association members. As you put together your online courses, be sure to collaborate with course development experts to design a curriculum relevant to members' professional goals and interests to maximize learning and engagement.

3. Make Courses Accessible

If your members can't figure out how to use your e-learning program, they'll give up before even starting. One of the most effective ways that associations can engage association members is by prioritizing the user experience when designing courses, to get members excited about learning and encourage them to get involved.

Microlearning modules enable learners to engage in short bursts, so they can consume content without devoting large chunks of their time. This type of content is ideal for busy professionals because they can learn whenever they want.

Associations should also make educational content available on demand to members. This way, they can access content on their own schedule and master it at their own pace. On-demand content also enables them to go back and review course materials, meaning they can take charge of their own learning.

To ensure an optimal user experience, make sure the LMS that you use is intuitive so members can interact with content easily. It should also be optimized for mobile devices for learning on the go.

4. Tailor Course Content to Members' Needs

To engage association members, ensure that the educational content that you provide interests them and meets their needs. You can do this by using the information that you have on file about each member in your AMS to determine their interests and the skills that they want to develop.

If you know that your members are seeking a specific certification, consider creating an online course that helps them develop the necessary skills for achieving that goal. Furthermore, you can use analytics to determine which methods get the most engagement to refine your course offerings to ensure that you're meeting your members’ needs.

5. Create a Collaborative Online Community

While e-learning is an excellent way to engage association members and help them meet their career development goals, one of the biggest challenges is the lack of in-person interaction. Although your members may not have time to attend regular in-person classes, they'll likely still welcome social interaction as part of the learning process.

Associations can create collaborative learning experiences when offering online courses by facilitating discussions and chats between members, incorporating gamification into lessons, using quizzes and polls to motivate learners to participate, and making it easy for members to ask questions as they learn.

Creating an online discussion forum where members can come together to discuss topics related to the material that they are learning and share their thoughts is another way to encourage collaboration and engagement.

6. Simplify the Registration Process and Course Selection

Association members are more likely to engage with your educational content if you make it easy to browse and sign up for courses. An effective way to do so is by organizing content by subject in a course library so members can find what they want quickly.

Finally, associations should offer single sign-on, which enables members to register with the authentication that they already have in place. All these things will go a long way toward keeping members engaged.

Final Thoughts

Thriving associations work hard to keep their members engaged because they know that engagement doesn't end when a new member signs up. Instead, it’s an ongoing process that helps associations retain and attract members.

Creating an educational program with engaging learning activities is an effective way to bring more value to your members by helping them meet their professional and learning goals. By implementing these strategies, associations can keep their members happy and coming back for more.

Here at Cadmium, we make it easy for association educators to deliver personalized learning paths to members to keep them better engaged and improve content satisfaction. To see how we can help you better engage your association members, reach out to our expert team today!