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Harnessing Online Learning for Association Advancement

Author Scott Butler

Good Roads is a municipal association that’s devoted to improving Ontario’s road infrastructure. We’ve been around since 1894, and today, we have close to 450 members, including most of the province’s municipalities and a growing number of First Nations communities.

The management of roads and transportation is changing faster than ever—and our members look to us for the knowledge and training they need to keep pace. But the way we delivered this education had remained unchanged for decades. It was almost entirely based on in-person courses and seminars.

To reach a wider audience, we decided to take learning online. This was an entirely new world for Good Roads, and we needed an experienced partner to help us navigate it.

That’s what led us to the D2L Brightspace learning management system (LMS). We were excited to work with a fellow Ontario-based organization, and our partnership opened opportunities we hadn’t even envisioned at the outset. D2L helped us secure funding from the government of Ontario, through its Skills Development Fund, which made this project much more financially feasible for us.

With support from D2L, we’ve developed an e-learning platform from scratch. We’ve been adding new courses and credentials slowly but surely. Today we offer 75 courses annually. An increasing number of these are being delivered on Brightspace. We’ve been able to effectively double our training offerings without a huge increase in resources. We have just three people, and approximately 200 volunteer instructors, supporting all these courses.

We’re seeing that e-learning is really resonating with our members. With the new online courses we’ve launched, we’re roughly doubling learner numbers every month. For one of our most popular courses, which is all about road construction and maintenance, almost half of our learners have opted for the online version this year. This is super encouraging.

But by far, the biggest benefit of e-learning is how it’s introduced all-new audiences and revenue streams. It’s been a game-changer for an association like Good Roads that uses training to generate revenue. We’ve seen a big uptick in private sector trainees, who are taking our online courses at a rate that’s completely unprecedented in our 129-year history. This has really underlined that we’re providing quality content that resonates with a much wider audience than ever.

We’re even more thrilled to welcome a growing learner base from First Nations communities. Good Roads and our members are, of course, located on the traditional territory of Indigenous peoples. We have a responsibility to ensure that the road infrastructure that runs across this land is designed, developed and maintained in a way that benefits all communities. Online education is a vital inroad for us here and allows us to meet our First Nations members in ways we simply couldn’t before.

Online learning has already opened so many doors for Good Roads, and we know we can take it even further. We want to reach more people across the province and, in time, the rest of Canada itself. With D2L, we know we have a partner and a platform that can make that happen. We’re so excited to explore all the places we can take learning together.

Paving the Way to New Educational Experiences

Good Roads takes learning online and discovers all-new audiences for its training courses

See the success story

Written by:

Author Scott Butler

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