Alan Hiddleston – Manager, Corporate Sales EMEA
Not so long ago, membership organisations offering training would have arranged face-to-face events. This guaranteed member engagement – once on-site, learners would commit to the session – but availability and cost was always a challenge and training reach could be limited by geography.
Digital learning has changed all that. Now, courses can be accessed remotely, which is convenient for learners and gives membership organisations the opportunity to provide value-add training to members in a flexible way.
The benefits of digital learning are clear: it casts a wider net for membership organisations and makes valuable content and resources available to more members. Meanwhile, learners get to undertake bitesize digital learning on their own terms, at their own pace.
These are compelling reasons to embrace e-learning but in doing so, there are a number of important factors to bear in mind.
More than just offline to online
Organisations should think about what it takes to deliver fully engaging digital learning experiences, because there’s more to successful e-learning than simply taking face-to-face training content and putting it online.
To begin with, consider the classroom experience from the perspective of both learners and tutors: there’s usually a back-and-forth – an exchange of ideas, thoughts and knowledge; questions are asked, understanding is checked. Tutors can see if attendees are engaged and they can adapt their delivery according to the spoken and unspoken feedback they receive.
Online learning needs to emulate everything that’s good about this classroom experience by being social, supporting the application of learnt skills through real-world practice, and enabling collaboration. Through the modern learning platform, all this is possible.
Engaging individual learners
Next, consider motivation and engagement. Just reading text on a screen is not going to sustain most learners’ attention. Instead, e-learning should tap into successful digital models to deliver a familiar and exciting online experience that engages and motivates learners. This is known as gamification: the application of tools and techniques – such as progress tracking and reward and recognition – often used in game design. It can be used to great effect in technology-enabled training programmes.
Lastly, give some thought to the individuality of members. When they’re learning, they’re not all going to start with the same level of knowledge, and they won’t all learn in the same way. The modern digital learning experience recognises this and is flexible in content delivery to meet learners’ individual needs. This can include providing access to additional resources if learners are struggling.
For employers, when organisations provide learning digitally they gain the scope for detailed insight into their employees’ progress through learning analytics. Data is captured within the learning programme and this also means that leaders and administrators within membership organisations can see clearly what works and what doesn’t, which is ideal for continuous improvement of the training offering.
Membership organisations are rich with knowledge and content. They have an ideal opportunity to transition from classroom-provided learning to e-learning to impart this knowledge to members in a way that meets their modern-day expectations of a learning programme. In doing so, they can expand the availability of learning to all members – globally – extending the influence of the organisation beyond its domestic market and meeting members’ demands for convenient, engaging training.
For a more in-depth view on how to transform learning to deliver a flexible, engaging experience for members download our ebook – Connecting with the new generation of membership: how associations can use next-generation learning engagement to create value for the millennial professional.
D2L is the provider of the leading LMS, Brightspace. D2L has over 20 years working in the LMS market across Corporate and Higher Education.