Members don’t join associations for the sake of it—they want value from their membership. eLearning is a tried and true member development service that can provide this value, so members remain satisfied and engaged and are far more likely to stick around.
But the success of eLearning still requires work. Your approach to it needs to be actively updated and refined over time so your courses don’t fade into the background. Your content should be up-to-date, inclusive, and targeted to deliver members the professional development training they need to advance in their careers.
Start by ensuring members are fully aware of all your eLearning offerings. Then, implement a few association eLearning tips, best practices, and trends that organizations of all sizes are using to make their membership eLearning programs stand out. Here are five.
1. Prioritize the member experience with easy-to-use courses
Your course content should prioritize the user experience (UX) because it gets members excited about online learning and encourages them to engage with your content.
Consider creating micro-content and investing in the correct association learning management system (LMS) to help improve the UX.
Micro-content is short, bite-sized, and often hyper-focused content users can quickly consume without having to devote much time. They can jump in and out as needed. An eLearning management system is a software that houses and manages your online learning resources.
When designing your courses, consider how your UX can elevate your content, making it more accessible, easy to understand, and engaging. To prioritize UX, look for software that:
- Is intuitive, so members can use, navigate, and interact with your content without much thought.
- Is optimized for mobile because many members will interact with your courses over mobile phones.
- Loads quickly so users can use the system without frustrating delays.
- Integrates with your association management software (AMS) so you can easily send and receive data between systems, and users don’t have to log in and out of applications each time.
2. Integrate membership eLearning across your activities and services
By integrating eLearning across your operations, you show members it’s a valuable way for them to engage. If they understand the value, they’ll be more inclined to continue engaging with your content over time.
But how exactly do you integrate membership eLearning across your operations?
One way is to use your LMS for activities like member onboarding, volunteer and committee training, and hosting in-person and virtual events.
Another important point to consider: You can purchase an LMS as a standalone system or as part of an AMS: software that lets you run your association from one central place, whether you’re sending emails, hosting virtual events, or processing payments.
If your association doesn’t yet have an AMS or wants to upgrade, consider investing in software that includes an LMS.
Integrating your LMS and AMS will ensure that:
- There’s less user friction. Having one system for LMS and AMS means members will be more familiar with the LMS platform, making course navigation easier. They will also only have to log in once to access both systems.
- You can create tailored learning opportunities. You can create personalized courses by looking at past learning history or membership status in your AMS.
- You don’t have to transfer data between platforms, which saves you time manually.
3. Simplify the course selection and sign-up process
You can learn a thing or two from eCommerce platforms about simplifying the entire buying process. First, make it easy for members to browse, buy, and register for online courses. You can do this by:
- Grouping content by topic in your course library, so members can easily and quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Implementing an easy-to-use online cart system, so members can pay without technical issues.
- Allowing users to pay with obvious payment methods like credit and debit cards and by linking to popular payment systems like PayPal or Stripe.
Second, reduce or eliminate unnecessary steps that may impede the sign-up process. This allows users to dive into the course material immediately while it’s still top-of-mind. You can do this by:
- Giving members the ability to sign-up via their social media accounts so they don’t have to input all their details from scratch.
- Sending an automated email confirming that they’ve signed up. This email can clarify the next steps, so there’s no confusion and the user doesn’t have to go looking for the course material.
- Using an SSO log-in so users can access their content immediately and any future content with little hassle. SSO, which stands for “single sign-on,” is a streamlined way for users to log in. They only have to provide their credentials once for multiple applications. For instance, when members log in to your website member portal, they’ll also have access to the learning center without inputting their credentials again.
4. Offer recognition and encourage peer-to-peer learning
Make sure your systems help you recognize members for course completion with certificates, badges, leaderboards, or a mention in your newsletter. This recognition gives members something to look forward to, encouraging engagement over time.
While eLearning is often a self-guided learning experience where members complete programs in their own time, consider creating opportunities for peer-to-peer learning.
Peer-to-peer learning is where members learn collaboratively. This type of learning can greatly enrich the quality of any online course because members can discuss what they’re learning and help each other with complex concepts. Organizations having employees work remotely can leverage this strategy to provide additional motivation and a new layer of accountability for everyone to complete their training promptly.
Here are a few ways to get started with collaborative learning:
- Encourage members to share their accomplishments on social media and member forums. This can inspire other members to chase their learning goals and is often a great conversation starter for anyone who wants to reach their goals and/or learn more.
- Build a feeling of community around your eLearning offerings. You can start by creating a Facebook group that everyone can access when signing up for a specific course. They can use the group to ask questions, share ideas, and help others.
5. Diversify your online course offerings
Whether you’re creating your content library from scratch or auditing it for ways to make improvements, focus on the diversity of your courses. People are interested in different subject matter and learn in different ways, so you want your library to cater to these differences.
Make sure you have a variety of content formats like eBooks, videos, live webinars, and articles. Don’t be afraid to repackage an existing course after you’ve created it.
For instance, if you’ve written an eBook, you could record a voiceover for those who want to consume the content as an audiobook. You can even provide micro-content (short courses) to encourage people to try new courses and subject matter they would have otherwise not tried.
Tip: Learn more about what content members find valuable or would like to see more by conducting a member survey.
Make your online courses stand out today
eLearning is one crucial way to keep members satisfied, engaged, and loyal. Make sure you’re taking the right approach to eLearning by prioritizing the member experience, integrating membership eLearning across your association, simplifying course selection, offering recognition and peer-to-peer learning, and diversifying your offerings.
Do that, and the odds of your eLearning program being a success will be just that much higher.