Nothing smashes paradigms quite like inescapable, sink-or-swim change. Among the shards of the way things used to be are old-fashioned learning program designs that ignore the pull of digital transformation and resist efforts to scale.
Amidst the obstacles that associations have encountered in recent years, your learning program needs to be online. To do eLearning well, you need an LMS. But you can’t take just any LMS.
Association learning programs have special needs. Helping members prepare for the professional credentials and certifications that can change their lives and shape their careers requires more than just regular learning tech. What you need is an LMS with superpowers.
We’ll walk you through four key LMS superpowers every association offering certifications or credentials need. Once you become aware of the options and possibilities, we’re certain you’ll be well prepared to choose an LMS that can help your association meet your mission, goals, and the needs of your members.
Digital transformation is one of the biggest buzzwords in technology circles right now, but when you see and hear the term so frequently in so many different places, it can start to lose its meaning. At BenchPrep, we think of digital transformation at its most basic level as a modernization effort—an upgrade of technology and of procedures. Most digital transformations can be broken down into three distinct stages:
With a super-powered LMS, your association can create appealing product bundles at varied price points. For instance, instead of merely offering an examination seat, you could bundle it with a self-paced study guide. You could even add retake insurance or a practice exam to the bundle, among other possibilities. Conversely, this strategy can be reversed. Instead of offering an extensive certification training product, you could disassemble (or unbundle) its component parts. This involves breaking down the content into bite-sized units that can be sold à la carte.
What does your association do with question banks from previous exams? Simply store them away? That’s a major missed opportunity. Don't let this valuable content go unused. With an LMS integrated with the right eCommerce features, you can package those retired questions into a high-margin practice product for candidates hoping to earn your association’s certifications, credentials, or certificates.
Don’t overlook the learning opportunities for members beyond the exam. Your members, having invested in your credential, certification, or certificate, are evidently interested in career development. They will appreciate opportunities to acquire new knowledge and develop new skills. By creating and selling continuing education courses through your association’s LMS, you can assist them in advancing their professions while also growing your association’s revenue.
Want to broaden the appeal of your association’s brand and expand your revenue stream along the way? Invest in LMS technology that helps learners find the products they want to buy at the moment they want to buy them. When learners struggle with a skill, topic, or concept, you can help support them with content that strengthens knowledge and builds confidence right at the moment of need.
Digital transformation is just that: a transformation. It’s like when a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. The process is so total and complete that you cannot recognize the previous creature. The digital transformation of a professional association changes the organization at the molecular level. It’s more than just offering a class online or offering video content. It’s a change of business from the inside out.
The kryptonite of the digital transformation process is taking half measures. It’s the superficial implementation of digital technology. It’s the irrational devotion to “the way we’ve always done things.” Don’t let half-measures be the kryptonite that withers the digital transformation of your association. Embrace all the features of your LMS, and clear the way to complete transformation.
If you want to set your association up for success, you’ll have to increase your efforts to attract, engage, and certify the newest generation of professionals in your industry. Because this generation of learners has different expectations for continuing education (CE) than what may be available from “traditional” membership approaches, you should go big on digital. Here are four ways your LMS can help.
One of the biggest reasons people join professional associations is to take advantage of CE opportunities, so look for an LMS that can help you deliver a variety of offerings in different formats. Don’t limit yourself to courses that require a big investment of time—members are just as eager for microlearning (and microlearning credential products) as they are for the the more substantial fare.
As an association, you want an LMS that can help young members get the most out of their certification training efforts. They may be after the same goal—your association’s credential, certification, or certificate—but they won’t be getting there the same way. Personalized study plans identify a learner’s strengths and weaknesses to serve content that best meets their individual needs. The technology increases confidence, boosts results, and drives learner satisfaction at scale.
A surefire way to keep members interested and coming back for more is to serve them a steady stream of new content and programs. Not sure where you should begin? Use your LMS to dive into course data so you can identify your most popular offerings and track the most engaging content and course elements. You can also pinpoint where learners need the most help so you can create new content bundles based on their needs.
For some potential members, nothing about your professional association is more attractive (or compelling) than your official stamp of approval. Professional credentials can open doors and broaden possibilities for those who work hard enough to achieve them. When members see your credential as a path to improved employment prospects, faster growth, better pay, and higher job satisfaction levels, you can count on them remaining engaged with your brand.
One thing that attracts people to professional associations like yours is the opportunity to pursue professional development and lifelong learning. Unfortunately, without reinforcement, up to 79% of newly acquired knowledge withers away in about 30 days. The phenomenon, first identified by German scientist Herman Ebbinghaus, is known in psychology circles as “the forgetting curve.” It’s nothing less than pure continuous learning kryptonite.
To help members combat the forgetting curve, look for an LMS that helps them retain and recall new knowledge so they can feel good about their progress and meet their goals.
Part of the appeal of belonging to an association is the chance to feel like part of a community. The right LMS will help your association create a community of practice to keep learners engaged. Here are some useful, community-building features to seek out.
What does your LMS do to get people talking? Encouraging conversation establishes connections, drives engagement, and facilitates learning, so make sure your learners and instructors can interact with one another. Seek out live chat features for when people are present at the same time (such as in webinars) and robust discussion board capabilities for when communication isn’t bound by time.
Live webinars give association members the opportunity to engage in something that is actively happening—they can interact with instructors, moderators, and presenters, or with the other attendees. Your association can take these connection-building opportunities one step furtherby hosting an event to increase revenue and further your members’ professional development—that is, if your LMS can support the effort.
Some LMS features, like personalized study plans or device flexibility help association learners get the most out of their limited time. Other features, like gamified learning mechanics, help them study more effectively. These elements leverage behavioral tendencies to make learners stay on the platform longer.
One of your greatest assets as an association of professionals is your people. Whether you have experts on your team or among your distinguished members, you should find ways to showcase their expertise with your LMS. Members can gain access to, and learn from experts through the LMS, with topics that have been created and curated for relevancy to the industry itself.
Rigid, inflexible classrooms are community-building kryptonite. Professional association learners are adult learners. They come with adult-size responsibilities, including families and jobs, that may encroach upon their time to get online and interact with classmates and instructors. When these busy professionals can scrape together some time to work on their goals, it may not be during banker’s hours or on a full-size device.
Adult learners need flexibility, and your LMS should let them take advantage of all its communication and learning features on whatever device happens to be handy in the moment. Your association’s LMS should function the same way on web, mobile, and tablet devices, and whatever learners accomplish on a given device should seamlessly sync to the platform so they can pick up their activity or discussion somewhere else later on.
One essential engagement metric you can track is your learners’ confidence. Certification training is stressful work. Learners have limited time and resources to accomplish their goals, and if the ultimate target—your association’s credential—seems unattainable, they may just give up and abandon membership altogether. When your LMS can track and respond to confidence, you can help learners feel good about the topics they’ve mastered so they perform well on exam day.
You don’t have to rely on intuition or anecdotes to improve an aspect of a course—you can drill down to that content to see how learners engage with it and then make a data-backed decision on what to do next. Deep-data analytics can reveal valuable insights about every course component down to the smallest detail.
A fully-featured, super-powered LMS can provide insight into your entire learning program, not just the portions of it related to teaching and learning. If your LMS can’t generate purchase & engagement reports, provide upsell recommendations, compare marketing data with learner engagement outcomes, or help you evaluate price performance, you need to find one that can.
When it comes to big data, you can count on most vendors to talk a big game. Everybody seems to have an opinion on data—how to collect it, where to store it, even what to look for when diving down into it. But here’s a data point for you: according to research from Forrester, up to 73 percent of all data within an enterprise goes unused for analytics.
The data is there but dormant. And you know what? Dormant data is big-data kryptonite. To awaken the power of your learning program’s data (remember, it’s always there—you just have to dig it up and use it), look for an LMS data partner that will actually help you find it and use it.
Now that you’ve had a chance to learn about the things a superpowered LMS can do, do you feel the same way about the tech you’re using now? Is your LMS something that’s helping your organization through the process of digital transformation, or is it something you’re just dragging along?
If your LMS doesn’t help you find new ways to bring in revenue, attract and nurture the next generation of members, create an engaging sense of community, or deliver game-changing data analytics, it may be time for you to consider an upgrade.
If it doesn’t look like it’s going to duck into any LMS-shaped telephone booths for a superpowers costume change any time soon, then it’s even more reason to explore upgrading your LMS.
BenchPrep is an award-winning learning platform purpose-built to help candidates feel more confident and prepared for their credentialing and certification tests by delivering an intuitive, efficient, and engaging study experience.
BenchPrep helps associations drive revenue by making it easy for learners to search, discover, purchase, and enroll in online study courses rich with interactive learning experiences. BenchPrep’s data capabilities also help associations unlock valuable insights so they can make better, more data-driven decisions on factors that affect course content, candidate sentiment,and learner behavior.
Many of the world’s leading associations and credentialing bodies trust BenchPrep to power their online study programs, including ACT, AAMC, ASCM, CFA Institute, CompTIA, GMAC, ISACA, and many others. More than 10 million learners have used BenchPrep to attain academic and professional success.
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