Grow Association Membership with Online Learning

Recorded conference sessions or webinars are an easy and popular way for an association to begin to provide online learning. How can offering this type of eLearning help you to take the next steps in developing your online learning programs? Could you even turn it into a revenue-generating asset that helps you to grow association membership? NiUG International did just that.


Grow Association MembershipIn our recent summary of association learning technology trends, we highlighted a finding from the Tagoras Association Learning + Technology report 2016, which stated that over 85% of associations incorporate recordings of learning events into their education programs. A learning event could be a webinar, webcast, conference session, or other event captured on video. Whether these recordings are delivered through a webinar or Learning Management System platform, it seems that recorded learning events are seen as one of the most popular and accessible formats for online learning among associations. Attendees enjoy being able to re-watch the session later to review and reinforce the concepts presented, extending the learning experience and really getting value for their participation.


The Tagoras report also notes that “Implementation of an LMS is usually a sign that an organization has made the decision to invest significantly in technology to support its learning”. The importance of choosing an LMS designed for associations was also highlighted by analysts Talented Learning as a key trend for 2016. So, can offering your recorded learning events through an association learning management system help you to take the next step in developing your education program, and grow association membership?


Success Story: NiUG International

NiUG International logoNiUG International started as a volunteer-led regional effort in the mid-1990s, and has grown to become the largest independent, not-for-profit, user group for the iMIS engagement management system, which is developed by Advanced Solutions International (ASI). In part this growth has been aided by their online learning program, which enables them to share educational resources and training materials with members and to attract new members who are interested in their content. There are now 5,000 active users, with over 48,500 enrolments, accessing over 970 courses through the NiUG Learning Center.


NiUG wanted to make available online recorded sessions from their regional and national conferences, as an added-value benefit which would enable attendees to refresh, review and apply what they had learned at the event. The organization also saw an opportunity to expand their education program, generate non-dues revenue, and grow association membership by selling recorded sessions to members and non-members who could not attend the event.


For NiUG, choosing to deliver the recorded conference sessions through a learning management system (LMS) provided additional benefits to the association’s administrators. It was important to be able to easily track the participation of different groups of learners – members and non-members, attendees of individual conference sessions. NiUG also needed to be able to create a catalog of online learning materials which was easily accessible from their website, and support this with a comprehensive ecommerce functionality. These features are found in an LMS with association-specific functionality, or an Association LMS.


To enable effective tracking of the success of their education program, NiUG needed a strong integration between their iMIS engagement management system and their chosen learning management system. The direct two-way integration between the chosen LMS and iMIS provided a granularity of control which has enabled NiUG to reduce their costs and preserve the value of conference attendance for iMIS users, both members and non-members alike, by regulating access to post-conference educational materials through the LMS for different users. NiUG now plans to extend their education offering by moving into the area of personalized learning, which they are able to plan for using the combined data from their LMS and iMIS integration.



"The LMS has provided a detailed level of administration and control over our content and user groups, which has enabled us to reduce our costs, and to provide online access to educational material that both complements and preserves the value of conference attendance for our members and iMIS users.”

- Michele Morgan, Executive Director, NiUG International


NiUG International is a great example of an association that has significantly grown its membership in part through providing an education program that offers real value to its members. The implementation of a learning management system with a strong integration to their engagement management system helped NiUG to take the next steps in developing their association online learning program by controlling their costs and effectively managing the delivery of relevant content to individual members. For more detail on how NiUG achieved this, download the case study.


Learn how you might be able to engage and grow association membership with an effective online learning program. Read more Success Stories from associations that have benefitted from implementing a Learning Management System to enhance their education programs.


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