What Association Learning Professionals Read in 2019 & Plan to Do in 2020

If you want a clue as to where professional development programs are headed in 2020, take a look at what association learning professionals read in 2019, according to our website analytics.

Learner engagement is top of mind in the association community, as it should be, but that’s not all we detected. We also see the desire to increase employer support for professional development and the need to validate learner mastery of new competencies.

What Association Learning Professionals Read in 2019

#1: How to Design a Digital Badge Strategy

The skills that brought us where we are today won’t be enough to get us where we need to go tomorrow. This new reality is why so many associations are interested in digital badges. Digital badge programs help learners acquire marketable skills and validate their new competencies to employers and clients.

As we said in the post, “It is not enough to simply create a badge and let it out on its own into the wilds of your online learning ecosystem.” Strategy must come first, always. The post takes you through the steps of the Badge Design Canvas—a template to help you determine if a digital badge will bring value to your learners and organization, and what resources you need to create a badge.

If you like this topic, check out:

•    Associations Have the Advantage in the Digital Badge Market
•    Will Your Association’s Credentials Become an Alternative to College?

#2: 8 New Ideas for Engaging Online Students

Because the number of organizations—both for-profit and nonprofit—offering online education continues to grow, associations know their programs must stand out from the competition and provide the most effective learning experience possible.

You can’t take student engagement for granted—just think about the times you’ve unintentionally zoned out during a webinar. In this post, we share eight ideas for improving the online learning experience, and, we bet, some of them will be new to you.

If you like this topic, check out:

•    10 Secrets of Online Course Design from Award-Winning MOOCs
•    Microlearning: Education to Fit Anyone’s Schedule & Budget

what association learning professionals read in 2019

#3: Debunking Learning Myths: 12 Facts About Adult Learning

Many of you who work in professional development are “accidental” learning professionals. You aren’t instructional designers, so you don’t always know which adult learning theories are supported by science and which are merely popular—which is why this post gets so much traffic.

Despite numerous scientific studies, some learning myths have staying power. Take, for example, the learning styles theory, you know the one, people are visual, auditory, kinetic, etc. learners. One expert describes it as “shoddy science.”

In this post, we debunk 12 popular learning myths. Our final words of advice: “Instead of relying on assumptions and ineffective methods, push yourself into new territory by understanding and adopting proven adult learning principles for your association’s professional development programs.”

If you like this topic, check out:

•    Don’t Believe Myths About Generational Learning Differences
•    Address Your Industry’s Skills Gap in So-Called “Soft” Human Skills

#4: How to Convince Employers to Pay for Professional Development

How astounding and frustrating it is, in this time of constant change, when everyone recognizes the need for lifelong learning, that some employers still don’t provide a budget for the professional development of their staff. What the what? Or, if they do, they provide a mere pittance, or only for staff in certain positions.

Given the popularity of this post, we’re guessing that many of you are facing this challenge. We describe why employers adopt this short-sighted practice and what your association can do to shift their mindset and help employees make a case for professional development.

If you like this topic, check out:

•    How to Get Your Association to Support Professional Development for Staff
•    13 Ways to Develop Expertise & Keep Up with Trends in Your Industry

#5: 9 Ways to Increase Online Student Engagement

Boring education is forgettable education. Learners won’t learn unless they’re engaged. So, it’s no wonder that posts #2 and #5 on our list both focus on online learner engagement. We published this post first, so it covers the fundamentals of online student engagement, such as preparing students for instruction, instructor presence, online learning communities, bite-sized spaced learning, feedback, and more.

If you like this topic, check out:

•    How to Get Useful Student Feedback on Online Courses
•    Improve Student Success with an Online Learning Community

what association learning professionals read in 2019

#6: 12 Ways to Increase Student Participation in Online Discussions

Online discussions give students the opportunity to reflect upon and apply new information—a critical element of the learning experience. Unlike face-to-face educational programs, students in online learning programs can participate in online discussions whenever it’s convenient for them.

In this post, we shared tactics for increasing student participation in online discussions as well as ideas to support their collaboration and connection.

If you like this topic, check out:

•    Professional Learning Communities Educate, Connect & Empower Members
•    3 Ways an Online Community Enhances Learning

#7: Remember the 3 E’s When Marketing Educational Programs

The same ol’ same ol’ isn’t going to cut it in today’s competitive professional development marketplace so we introduced the 3 E’s in this popular post.

Expeditionary marketing helps your target audience recognize their need for professional development and increases their awareness of your educational programs. Emotional marketing uses messaging that moves prospects from thinking “I should take a class” to “I can’t wait for this class to begin.” And finally, with evangelism marketing, you get to know your learners better, earn their loyalty, and inspire them to become raving fans.

If you like this topic, check out:

•    Online Course Marketing Tactics from Six-Figure Digital Entrepreneurs
•    How to Leverage the Marketing Power of Social Proof

#8: Creating e-Learning Content: LMS Best Practice

When creating e-learning content, the LMS has a supporting role. The starring role belongs to strategy. This post focuses on the content creation process, starting with learning objectives and learner outcomes. This process is, of course, made easier when your LMS has the functionality to support the design of the engaging learning experience we describe in this post.

If you like this topic, check out:

•    How to Spot Emerging Educational Needs Your Competitors Are Overlooking
•    Take an Assessment-First Approach to Program Design

Looking back, our readers are interested in providing an engaging learning experience, distinguished from other offerings in their marketplace, supported by sound instructional design, and validated by digital badges. In this one sentence, you can find your educational mission statement for 2020.

online learning
student engagement
Digital Badges
professional development
Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to receive our blog posts and updatesSubscribe