If you have been providing continuing education programs or professional development training via your website or learning management system, but your members don't seem to be interested in the training you are offering, how can you re-energize online learning for members? If your members are finding your online learning content to be a bit stale, or if participation levels are dropping, don't despair! There are lots of ways to breathe new life into your content and to reinvigorate your members' appetites for online learning.
There have been some interesting articles and blogs posted in recent weeks with great ideas for engaging members in learning, curating online content to ensure relevancy, and ensuring your organization has a strategically digital mindset. We have collected some of these here to share with you as ideas for re-energizing your education programs and re-engaging members in online learning.
How to Really Involve Learners
This is a great blog post with suggestions for structuring content so that learners are not faced with a long presentation that is occasionally interrupted by an activity, such as a quiz. Instead, the blog suggests throwing learners straight into a realistic practice activity or scenario, and allowing them to try to solve the problem, with the required training information presented as optional links at various points in the activity, and then presented as part of the feedback depending on the outcome of the learners choices.
Instead of just pushing information to learners, this way of structuring content makes learners seek the information they need. The challenge motivates learners to really engage and take in the information. There are some other great ideas included in the blog, such as spacing learning over several sessions so that learners can practice over time, and develop a sense of mastery. If you are thinking of new ways to structure content, you might want to consider what is the right eLearning content management tool for your organization?
The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of Curation
If you do decide to restructure your content to make it more challenging and engaging for learners, you'll need to start with an audit of the resources available to you. Rather than creating all your course content from scratch, learning content curation can help you to update and extend your member education programs by supplementing and re-purposing existing content to create new material. This blog post from David Kelly is designed as a resource for anyone who wants to learn more about curation and learning. It includes a huge selection of links to resources about curation.
For an association-focused approach to content curation, you might also want to check out this mini-course recommended by the analysts at Tagoras to help you get started with curating learning content: How to Curate Content and Knowledge Like a Pro, or read our blog post on using your LMS as a content curation tool.
8 Tips To Foster Knowledge Sharing Through Online Learning Communities
Of course, curation is only one of the three Cs of social learning. Associations can reinvigorate online learning by providing opportunities for learners to engage more deeply with the content and each other through encouraging communication and collaboration as part of the learning process. Being able to connect with peers, discuss challenges, and have a forum for conversation improves learner engagement among association members, whether the learning is on or offline.
This article from eLearning Industry provides tips on how to foster knowledge sharing through online communities. Whether you have a specific online community platform to support social learning, or make use of discussion forums in your learning management system or website, there are great ideas in this post to re-engage members with online learning.
How Associations are Embracing Digital Transformation
To provide online learning programs that your members will want to engage with, your association will need to be not just familiar with, but advocates for the benefits of digital solutions for communication, learning, and certification. This post from DelCor outlines five questions that will help your organization to determine your cultural readiness for a 'digital first' strategy, and gives real examples of associations that are embracing the benefits of a digital first mindset.
The key to designing a new digital strategy or plan for association learning is to set achievable goals. Some of the strategic goals you may have might include improving the learning experience your members, and simplifying learning management for your administrators, both of which are good reasons to invest in association learning technology.
Using Digital Credentials to Close the Skills Gap
Several recent articles and studies have outlined that the key benefits that the digital-savvy millennial generation want from associations are job opportunities, credentials and training. If recruiting younger members is a key strategic goal for your association, you may want to restructure or repackage your online education offering for millennials to outline how your programs and credentials can help them to secure employment.
One way to do this would be to adopt the growing trend for digital credentials, as there is a real skills gap problem for young professionals leaving formal education to progress to employment, and this is an area in which associations have an opportunity to lead change in continuing education for professional development.
The ideas in these articles will hopefully provide inspiration for any organization that needs to reinvigorate its online education programs and re-engage its members in learning. If you missed the recent webinar on digital badge strategies for associations to close the skills gap between education and employment, you might also want to access the recording below for practical advice and real examples of associations that have successfully incorporated digital badges to re-energize online learning for members.