Many of your members and prospective customers have recently been introduced to a learning management system (LMS)—the one their kids use for remote schooling. However, the experience hasn’t always been that great, and, unfortunately, they might think the online learning experience you offer is just as clunky and unsatisfying. How can you entice members and prospects to visit your association’s LMS and check out your online learning programs?
How to entice members and prospects to visit your association’s LMS
The LMS is the workhorse for the professional development team, but it has many more uses beyond hosting online courses. Here are some of the ways you can encourage members and prospective customers to browse through the educational programs you offer via your LMS.
#1: Virtual conferences, the gateway to your LMS—and vice versa
If you use your LMS to host your virtual conference, you can show your audience how enjoyable and effective online learning is when it’s done right. Your LMS serves as the “lobby” where attendees go to get information about speakers, sessions, and other program details.
In pre-event emails to attendees, tell them how they’ll be using your LMS to participate in the conference. Give them a preview with screenshots and/or video tours. Host private video tours or demos for prospective and confirmed sponsors and exhibitors.
During the conference, explain how your learning site and/or LMS will help attendees continue their learning experience. It helps if your site has a catchy name so everyone knows what you’re talking about when you refer to it. Here are some examples of names we’ve seen:
• Digital Vault
• Learning Center
• University or U
In session descriptions or in the sessions themselves, mention related educational resources—online courses, recordings, and other programs—that attendees can find in your LMS. Make sure speakers know about them too. Offer special deals for attendees, for example, a discount code for a bundle of online learning programs related to specific sessions or tracks.
In post-event emails, encourage attendees to map out their future learning journey by checking out the learning pathways, career pathways, online courses, certificate programs, and other credentialing programs that can help them achieve their goals.
#2: Learning journey consultations
Offer free 20-minute educational coaching sessions to attendees and others who are interested in designing a learning journey. Have them complete a form before the consultation so you focus your time together on presenting options and answering questions.
#3: Learning pathways
On your website, map out learning pathways for achieving different professional goals. Explain how your credentialing programs—certificate, microcredential (digital badge), and/or certification—can help them increase their expertise and advance their career.
#4: Event registration and recordings
Host the registration for webinars and other virtual events (educational and social) on your LMS. And, when they return, host registration for conferences and other in-person educational events on your LMS too.
Host all recordings of webinars, podcasts, and conference sessions—both for sale and free—on your LMS. Be sure to make recommendations for related resources.
#5: New member onboarding
Guide new members through an onboarding (orientation) experience on your LMS. Use self-assessments, polls, and surveys to better understand new members and their needs and interests.
Design new member pathways or online courses that fit the typical needs and interests of different membership segments. These pathways could be made up of microlearning units that introduce new members to relevant membership benefits.
Don’t forget to offer onboarding and educational programs for new supplier members too so they learn best practices for developing relationships with prospective member customers.
#6: Reboarding renewing members
Reboarding is a member reengagement and retention strategy that gives your association the opportunity to reconnect with a member to learn about any new needs and interests, help them get value from their membership, and strengthen your relationship with them.
Like onboarding, ask renewing members to take a self-assessment on your LMS so you can learn about changes in their needs and interests. Send them an “in case you missed it” email that describes new relevant programs, such as an online course or digital badge program.
#7: Certification applications and renewals
Remind certification applicants and holders to enter any CE credits they earn from external sources into the LMS. They won’t have to worry about maintaining a spreadsheet or inbox folder with CE credit information, and they’ll spend less time completing applications.
Based on past history and interest data, let them know about new offerings that can help them earn CE credits.
#8: Leadership and volunteer training
Host volunteer and leadership orientation and training for your association and chapters on your LMS. Board and committee members can work through online leadership training at their own pace—while you track their progress.
You could give seasoned leaders the option to take a self-assessment if they wish to opt out of modules they took the year before. Or, design a refresher module for returning leaders. Schedule automatic reminders so volunteers finish and take the final quiz before they begin service.
Think about using your LMS to offer training for event volunteers (breakout room hosts, panel moderators, discussion facilitators, and tech support), speakers, instructors, mentors, peer reviewers, award judges, and membership recruiters and ambassadors.
Besides the necessary governance training that volunteers need to fulfill their responsibilities, you can also use your LMS to host leadership development training for prospective leaders. Consult with employers to design training that members can apply both at work and at the association. Award digital badges to members who have successfully completed specific leadership pathways.
Let the component relations team at your association know how the LMS can help them with chapter officer and board training. They can create learning pathways for each chapter leadership position and track volunteer progress.
#9: Chapter programs
Chapter members are usually more emotionally connected to their local or state chapter than to your national or international association. Your LMS is a gateway to this enormous audience.
With an LMS, like TopClass, you can use partitions (a multi-tenant structure) to separate chapter catalogs and content from the other content in your LMS. Chapters can host their virtual events, volunteer training, and recordings on your LMS in their own partition.
#10: Career education
Students and early-career professionals may not have the budget for educational programs but they do have the need for career resources. Position your LMS as a supplement to your job board or career center. Host reading selections, resources, webinars, session recordings, and mini-courses that help young members and prospects navigate your industry or profession.
Once members and customers start browsing around your learning site or LMS, they’ll become familiar with your educational programs and see a pathway for achieving their goals.