What you can do is create an engaging environment where members will want to return, time and time again, for continuing education and professional development.
Here are some ways to foster engagement in your online learning:
Create a learning community. As an association, you already know a thing or two about what it means to be a community. Bring some of the elements that encourage networking in your association into your online education. Integrate discussion boards and social media into your learning management system (LMS) or course assignments to help create a social atmosphere, and a place where members want to visit and participate in the discussions.
Stand-up learners should standout. Be sure to recognize and reward those members that regularly participate in your learning community and demonstrate the types of behaviors you want others to mimic. One way to recognize top contributors is to create a weekly spotlight for the member that logged in the most or contributed valuable information. Recognition and rewards brings me to my next tip, competition.
Create friendly competition. Personally, I strive on competition and rewards, and if there is a contest, I am usually the first in line. At the same time, I also catch myself slacking off or putting off an assignment from time to time. That’s right folks, the “competitive lazy member” does exist and there are probably several in your association. Here is a tip for enticing those learners who may need an extra push – create a contest which rewards the member with the highest “pulse” score or the member who recruits the most friends to join the learning community. Gamification has been proven to increase engagement and loyalty for business and programs of all types, gamify your eLearning and watch as members compete to earn their place on your “Leaderboard.”
Be supportive and responsive. Make a conscious effort to open yourself up for members to voice their questions or concerns. I know what you are thinking, “I do not have the time to take that many phone calls.” Instead, utilize the messaging center in your LMS or association management system (AMS). Usually a short and sweet response will satisfy the member, and it demonstrates that your association cares about its members. Just be sure you are consistent and quick to respond. This will give learners the reassurance that they are not in it alone and create a deeper attachment with your association and its online learning programs.
Provide self-paced learning opportunities. The most important thing you can do for a member is let them learn at their own pace. Everyone learns differently, and while this can be hard to manage, it can mean a world of difference for the success of your online learning program. Something as simple as turning a live webinar into a recorded webinar allows busy learners to pause and come back to the information as they wish. This can be especially important for the learners that need extra time to absorb dense content or who like reviewing materials at a later date.
For even more tips on how to increase awareness of your association’s education products, check out “Five Ways to Market Your eLearning on a Budget”, just one of the many helpful posts in Digitec’s Association eLearning Blog.
This post was provided by Sarah Lugo, the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Digitec Interactive. She comes from the nonprofit sector and has worked in communications for several associations in the past. Sarah loves working with eLearning since it allows her to express her passion for technology and enjoys of learning.
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