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Top Three Takeaways From Episode 1 of Our New Webinar Series

  • 5 Min Read

Membership associations are ideally placed to provide learning and training opportunities to members eager to continue their professional development and stay up to date on industry trends. However, they do face some challenges, including how, when and where learning happens. If associations can meet members’ expectations, they can capitalise on the huge opportunity learning presents—to unlock new revenue streams and diversify the member value proposition through learning.

Sasha El-Halwani

Associations need actionable insights to unlock new revenue streams and diversify the member value proposition through learning, and so D2L held a webinar—part of the Learning by Association series—to get some thoughts. Our D2L host was joined by:

  • Ayça Donaghy, CEO of the Lighting Industry Association (LIA)
  • Jason Baker, founder of snowfish learning
  • Andrew Howie, chief finance and commercial officer at the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine (BSLM)

Three membership learning themes

Delve into the on-demand recording to hear the insightful discussion in full. Here are three themes we identified:

1. Using hybrid and online approaches to enable self-paced learning with an international reach

One of the first points our panellists touched on was the ways in which their organisations are challenging the status quo of traditional learning. Ayça spoke of how, in the past, the LIA focused heavily on one-to-five-day learning events, drawing on the considerable knowledge of its experts and delivering content via slides.

But long presentations are not necessarily the members’ method of choice for learning. It’s also not ideal to expect them to always travel to face-to-face events, taking time out of their busy schedules and incurring expenses along the way. For this reason, the LIA is looking at a blended approach.

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The LIA’s position is echoed elsewhere in the associations industry. Indeed, according to MCI’s Association Engagement Index 2022, 56% of respondents prefer engaging with peers and their community through a combination of online and in-person events, while 73% think virtual events could/should complement physical ones.

Meanwhile, as indicated by MemberWise’s Digital Excellence report 2023/24, the number of membership bodies providing online learning and continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities has risen by 21% in the past four years, to 77%. To enable this, they are increasingly turning away from in-house/bespoke systems to industry-standard learning management systems (LMSs).

Similarly, Andrew spoke of the need for engaging and immersive training that complements the day-to-day experiences of BSLM’s members. The organisation is moving beyond the textbook-based learning of the past, implementing a learning academy, powered by D2L Brightspace, that offers self-paced online learning. This suits BSLM’s time-poor members, many of whom are General Practitioners (GPs) and cannot commit to time away from work. By offering technology-enabled training that members can fit around their many other obligations, BSLM can reach a wider audience, including members based overseas. All members benefit from interactions with peers, too, through online forums that build communities.

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2. Personalising learning and making it bite-sized

A theme Jason talks about is a shift in corporate and member-based organisations, whereby learning used to be separate from the day job and equipped learners with the knowledge they may need in the future. Now, he says, digital platforms are enabling a movement away from just-in-case learning and towards just-for-me, just-in-time models.

These equip learners not only to make progress in their careers but also to be supported in their day-to-day roles.

Micro-learning, which breaks content and subject matter into smaller chunks, and personalised learning support this approach by enabling the right learning to be delivered to the right people at the right time.

Andrew describes how BSLM meets the varied needs of its learners through module-based content. While some members will need to work through all modules for the knowledge and/or accreditation they need, others will access only those modules that are relevant to their particular role.

Ayça expresses interest in bite-sized learning to address specific skills gaps the LIA’s members report. She also points out an added benefit of this approach. When multiple courses call on some of the same content, that content only needs to be updated once when courses are comprised of bite-sized building blocks.

3. Unlocking new revenue streams

Training is a big attraction for existing and new members of an association. Many professionals look to their association for CPD as well as optional professional development opportunities that can help them excel in their careers. The right learning offering is, therefore, a major asset.

Andrew speaks about promoting BSLM’s core accreditation beyond its own membership and looking at other verticals outside the health care sector as opportunities. The association has exceeded its expectations in this area and is ahead of schedule.

Ayça talks about learning as a revenue stream, having been constrained by tutor and space availability until now, something a shift in learning can help address. She also recognises that technology can help deliver administrative efficiencies in registration and payment processes, freeing up staff to focus on activities that deliver member value instead.

More about Learning by Association

Watch the webinar recording for the full discussion on learning by association. To find out how D2L can help your association, take a look at our association learning and training LMS.

Written by:

Sasha El-Halwani

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Table of Contents

  1. Three membership learning themes
  2. 1. Using hybrid and online approaches to enable self-paced learning with an international reach
  3. 2. Personalising learning and making it bite-sized
  4. 3. Unlocking new revenue streams
  5. More about Learning by Association