Apr 13, 2023
Read Time: 3 min
Educational opportunities and training are among the top reasons that people join associations. One way that associations can add value for their members is by offering career development and certification programs to help them advance their careers.
Impactful, competency-based learning programs with personalized plans enable professional association members to compete in a rapidly changing workforce and apply their knowledge in meaningful ways within the context of their occupation.
Learning activities offered by associations should also prepare members for changes in the workplace, giving them the tools to stay current at all stages of their careers. By providing members with the learning opportunities that they're seeking, associations can ensure that they remain relevant and grow.
Let’s look at how associations can create impactful learning activities for their members.
Your association's LMS can make or break your learning program, so you must choose one that enables you to create a dedicated learning hub for members. A primary advantage of an LMS is that it facilitates the organization and delivery of educational content to members online, so they can connect and learn from wherever they happen to be in the world.
Associations can use their LMS in many ways, including creating online courses and sharing engaging content with professional association members. It can also provide certification programs to help members stay up to date in their field.
When thinking about how to use your LMS, consider prioritizing on-demand video so members can take control of their learning and review materials on their own schedule and at their own pace.
While most of your association's learning activities will likely be online, your members don’t have to work in isolation to achieve their goals. Instead, make collaborative learning part of your educational programs. When people work together on a task, they can increase their knowledge and skills faster than learning alone.
Collaborative learning encourages professional association members to join forces when tackling a learning objective and actively engages them in the learning process. It also allows them to connect with others to build their professional network.
Be sure to host discussion forums on your LMS where members can come together to talk about learning activities and post questions and comments. A speaker or moderator can start the discussion to kick things off.
Keep learners on their toes by creating activities where they can take turns leading discussions while others listen and provide feedback. Giving members the opportunity to take on the instructor role is an excellent way to keep them engaged.
While lectures have a place in your association's learning programs, they shouldn't be the main format that you use. Lectures require learners to take a passive role in the classroom and are often ineffective when used too often.
Instead of relying solely on this traditional teaching technique, associations should incorporate various methods to connect with professional association members and keep them engaged. For example, if you're hosting a webinar, encourage audience participation by asking questions or taking a poll during the presentation.
You can also test how well learners have retained the presented information with quizzes and exams. Using problem-based learning so members can apply what they've learned to real-life situations is also an excellent way to keep courses relevant and engaging.
Furthermore, consider following up with learners after an online class by sending a link to a relevant article or podcast.
Professional association members are busy, so giving them the autonomy to learn at their own pace will encourage them to engage with your organization's educational programs. Since your LMS will play a significant role in your programs, be sure to choose one that enables you to customize learning to meet the needs of your members.
On-demand learning comes in many forms. For example, you can organize a video library within your association's LMS so members can browse and watch relevant content as needed. You can also convert streamed events, conferences, and lectures to videos and post them to your LMS so learners can rewatch them at their own pace.
Lastly, associations should ensure that the learning content on their LMS is available across devices 24/7, so members can access these resources whenever they want.
Between work and personal obligations, your members likely don't have hours on end to dedicate to a learning program. Microlearning offers a solution, enabling them to learn in short bursts focused on a specific topic. Instead of an hour-long presentation or class, you can create learning modules that are divided into smaller chunks.
Associations can implement microlearning in many ways, such as short video workshops led by a speaker who’s an expert in the field, case study lessons that ask members to apply their professional knowledge to different scenarios, infographics, and explainer videos.
By breaking up learning tasks into bite-sized pieces, associations ensure that their members can make the most of the time that they have available to dedicate to personal development and learning activities.
Microlearning has several other benefits: it aids the retention of information, allows for personalized learning, and makes content easier to consume. You can use your association's LMS to set up microlearning where applicable.
When associations create impactful learning opportunities for members, they provide them with the tools necessary to excel in their profession. Done correctly, association educational programs encourage lifelong learning among members. While online lectures can help impart new information to professional association members, associations should use diverse instructional methods to ensure high engagement.
Here at Cadmium, we make it easy for association educators to deliver personalized learning 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!