There is an association for every profession, trade, and interest. In the United States alone, there are tens of thousands of associations and non-profit organizations working to support, develop, and advocate for their respective members and industries. Many of these associations offer some form of professional development, continuing education, or training to both members and non-members, and increasingly this includes an online learning element. With such diversity, how do you determine what makes an association education program successful?
Measuring Success - Determining the Metrics
Believe it or not, determining success often begins before the education program is even launched. In order for any such project to be successful, it is important to plan and define your requirements. This way you will have a blueprint for evaluating the success of your education program once it has been launched. Your requirements list will help you to list the metrics by which you will measure the success of the technologies and resources you will use to deliver your program. There are some great resources out there to help you define your requirements and determine the scope of your project. Some questions you may need to ask are?
- What type of education will you offer - conferences and seminars, blended learning, webinars, online courses, offline materials, or a mixture of all of these?
- What technology will you require to deliver the program most efficiently to your learners?
- How can you make it easier for your learners to access your content?
- Will you need to track CE credits?
- What reports and information will you need to evaluate the success of your education program?
Here are some useful resources for associations that are planning a new education program that will incorporate online learning, or looking for a new learning technology:
- How to Select the Right Learning Technologies for Your Association Part 1 and Part 2 from - Tagoras
- Association LMS Buying Guide - from Talented Learning
- Define your LMS Requirements Like a Pro - from Talented Learning
Measuring Success - Learner Satisfaction and User Experience
Another way to measure the success of your association education program is to evaluate how satisfied your learners are with the program, and to ask your administrators and instructors about their experiences creating, delivering and reporting on the program. This can be done in a variety of ways. To assess learner satisfaction, you could ask learners for feedback on course completion via survey or webinar, or use discussion forums to allow learners to make suggestions and provide feedback to instructors and administrators. To evaluate quality of user experience for your administrators and instructors, you might consider having review meetings with administrators following the launch of new programs, and with instructors at the end of courses. If you are using a learning management system to deliver your association education programs, you can learn a huge amount from reviewing the LMS analytics and reports.
Here are some informative articles that will help you with evaluating learner satisfaction and user experience:
- eLearning Course Evaluation: A Guide For eLearning Professionals - from eLearning Industry
- LMS Reporting: Getting Useful Data from your LMS
- Time to Evaluate LMS Performance
Measuring Success - Achieving your Goals
Over and above the metrics and the day to day experience of users, associations will have a strategic goal for implementing education programs. It may be an initiative to increase membership, a way to increase member engagement, or to help to ensure the success and reputation of the trade or profession, if the association offers certification or accreditation within its industry. Achieving strategic goals might be the most unique and important measure of success for the association for the association education program, and these strategic goals will be as diverse and unique to each organization as their mission and the audiences they serve.
Case studies are a great way to determine how a learning technology or other educational resource can help you to achieve the strategic goals of your organization. Here are a couple of success stories from associations which address a variety of association education program goals:
- Grow Association Membership with Online Learning
Organization: NiUG International
- Maximize Efficiency with an LMS-AMS Integration
Organization: Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM)
- Professional Services for LMS Solutions Ensure Success
Organization: American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
- Leadership through Blended Learning
Organization: Gamma Phi Beta International Sorority
WBT Systems have been working with associations to implement successful education and certification programs for over 20 years. If you would like to talk to us about the strategic goals for your association education programs and how learning technology could help you to achieve these, contact us today!