By Guest Blogger:

Russell Ward

Co-Founder of Meta Capability

 Part 1 of 2 articles.

According to MemberWise’s estimations (and they should know as they are at the heart of the membership world) there are over 8,000 membership organisations (MOs) and associations based in the United Kingdom (with memberships of over 1,000 individuals/organisations), and 14 million British citizens belong to over 450 professional membership organisations (of which 145 are Chartered Bodies).

They estimate there to be over 50,000 membership organisations and associations based in the European Union, with over 1,500 based in Brussels alone. The figure for smaller organisations is likely to be far higher at approximately 250,000.

Collectively that is millions of people that are mandated or encouraged to carry out a number of hours of CPD each year, and most people do this over and above their normal work – so in their spare time. For most people being a member of a MO is a personal choice so how easy is it for them to carry out this additional CPD?

For the MOs many mandate CPD and need to ensure members have completed it and in doing so audit on average 5% of their membership. That can be immensely costly and time consuming. Most MOs have manual systems where members are sending them forms, PDF, spreadsheets etc to prove their CPD consumption. All of this is a very manual process with little ability to create useful data about CPD activity across the membership or monitor it.

Let’s look at the challenges the member and MOs face around CPD.

The member point of view.

1. Being able to find quality, reliable content

In this day and age of fake news it is more important than ever for members to be able to read or watch quality content that will be correct and help them in their career and CPD goals. It is a minefield to find reliable content via the web and even harder to assess whether it has added any value towards their CPD goals.

Many MOs offer content via their website but it can be disorganised and hard to navigate around. Few websites have a common taxonomy that links all useful assets together. For example many offer frameworks, standards or qualifications locked in PDF’s with no link to content that members can study to learn more about their topic of choice. Some MOs offer very little content and yet want members to carry out CPD.

MOs need to make it easy for members to get access to quality content in bite-sized form. After all why does a member join a MO other than to learn more about the industry they are working in, what careers are available and qualifications/standards will they need to attain and what events/courses can they attend? If MOs do this they will attract and retain more members as they will be providing a crucial service and one that the member can rely on for quality and truth.

2. Finding time to carry out CPD

So on the basis that quality content is hard to find, it takes time just to find the right and reliable content in the first place. That is so frustrating to members – a real waste of the small amount of personal time they have to carry out CPD. Time is one of the most valuable commodities we all own.

Research by Bersin by Deloitte shows that in a given week, employees have less than 25 minutes of time to learn. In addition, knowledge workers spend less than 40% of the average workweek on tasks specific to their jobs (28% email, 19% searching and gathering information, 14% on communicating and collaborating internally).

On the basis of 24 mins a week, members need to be able to carry out CPD at their convenience on the move – traveling to and from work, in a break, going to a meeting etc. So not only is it important to enable members to have access quality content easily, but they method of access is key. It needs to be automated, matching the gaps in their CPD goals and they need to be able to consume it via their smart mobile device.

This is not only essential for all of the above reasons, but to also attract the millennials and younger generations to MOs. The current membership population is aging and needs to replace members that leave with the younger generations which will ensure the longevity of the MOs. 50% of the working population will be millennials by 2020 and currently 40% of them only use mobile and not a laptop/desktop.

3. Being able to demonstrate they have completed their CPD

So the member has gone to great lengths to find the relevant quality CPD material, they have found time to consume it, but now they have to demonstrate to the MO that they have carried out that piece of CPD. This is where it gets even more time consuming and where many members struggle to see the value and have a meltdown as once again some MOs make this complicated and laborious.

Giving a member an easy way to register CPD consumption is once again important if MOs wants to encourage their members to carry out CPD. For example there is technology now (xAPI) that can tell the second a user stopped watching a video, the page someone dropped out of a PDF, what theme of content they like or follow. This data can be used to verify CPD activity.

There are QR codes that can be scanned via a mobile phone when at an event or course which will verify the member attended. This can automatically update the members CPD record in the MOs platform verifying they type of CPD they have done.

All of this technology is available now and can be part of a CPD solution MOs can offer their members.

Part two of this article will be published in a few weeks time




Russell Ward ([email protected] M: 07813 32323) is a published author and Co-Founder of Meta Capability Ltd which is a cloud based learning and development technology company that changes capability. He provides bespoke next generation CPD capture and monitoring solutions that can also link bite-sized content to members CPD gaps and goals.