5 Tips To Improve Your Organization’s Continuing Education Offerings

Posted by BeaconLive
5 Tips To Improve Your Organization’s Continuing Education Offerings | BeaconLive

Grow Your Association’s Memberships By Offering High-Quality CE

It’s no secret that workforce dynamics and labor needs are constantly changing. One thing that always stays the same is the need for professional development opportunities and education programs. 


When faced with the need for new and improved skills, workers turn to professional associations for CE opportunities. This means that every membership organization needs to offer opportunities for lifelong learning if they want to maintain their membership numbers. 


Offering educational programs and resources gives your members access to critical information and helps increase the value of membership dues. 


They also provide opportunities for non-dues revenue for every nonprofit and for-profit organization. 


Your professional organization already offers continuing education opportunities to attract new members and serve existing ones. But how can you ensure these offerings meet the needs of your ever-changing member base and appeal to a new generation of learners?


Let’s look at five tips to enhance your membership organization’s current CE initiatives and take your association to the next level. 

A laptop sits on a desk next to a phone, two pens and a pad of paper

Photo by Daniel Fazio


1. Offer E-Learning Opportunities For Members And Nonmembers

Continuing education is highly demanded. Lifelong learners in all industries crave the opportunity to expand their knowledge base and learn new things about their niche. And with the surge in educational technology, associations can use e-Learning to meet the needs of their members. 


The best way to offer eLearning to your members is to use an association learning management system, or LMS. This approach allows you to offer a central location for all professional development and continuing education courses. 


A continued learning platform is a great way to organize professional courses and offer unique educational content, such as:


LMS providers, like BeaconLive, can also automate the certificate process and help participants organize their certificates and CE credits so that they can provide them to their employers as proof of completion. 


Using an association LMS puts your membership organization ahead of the curve and acts as a way to increase member satisfaction and prevent high levels of turnover. You can even offer these opportunities to nonmembers in your industry. 


Not only will this help bring in more non-dues revenue, but you can find qualified leads to target for potential membership. 


2. Design Virtual Certificate Programs For A Global Network

A big mistake professional associations make is failing to look beyond the U.S. chapters of their associations. Virtual certificate programs have the potential to reach a much wider audience, thus bringing in more non-dues revenue for your organization. 


Since many associations are pivoting to online learning opportunities, designing a virtual certificate program that appeals to a global audience can ensure your organization stays relevant and attracts the right people. 


You can offer certificates in industry-specific areas and even association management to train the next generation of association leaders. This will improve your association's CE offerings long-term and make your association's LMS even more appealing.


3. Consider Educational Partnerships

An educational partnership involves two organizations coming together to benefit professional learners. 


These strategic partnerships offer a multitude of benefits for both your association and your members, such as:

  • Increased Brand Awareness

  • Improved Access To Elearning Opportunities

  • Access To More Educational Resources And Materials

  • An Amplified Association Message 

  • More Exposure Within The Industry


Here’s a list of professional organizations your association can partner with and how they can help you improve your association’s eLearning offerings. 


Consider Partnering With….

How They Can Help Your Association 

The eLearning Guild

  • Provides course designers with access to high-quality resources. 

  • Offers networking opportunities to help grow your association’s memberships. 

International Society For Performance Improvement (ISPI) 

  • Access to cutting-edge, evidence-based tools and strategies. 

  • Enhanced certificate and accreditation opportunities. 

The Association For Talent Development (ATD)**

** Formally The American Society For Training And Development (ASTD)

  • Allows professionals to connect through workshops and professional development. 

  • Sets the standard for learning and performance, so your members will have insights into the field. 


Educational partnerships can open new doors for your association and its members, so consider reaching out to various organizations to see how they can help take your CE offerings to new heights. 


4. Prioritize Communication And Collaboration 

Your members don’t just join your association for tangible benefits. They join to connect with like-minded individuals and participate in collaborative conversations that can help them make advancements within their industry. 


So, when it comes to continuing education, your educational opportunities must offer ample opportunity for your members to connect with a global network. 


As you evaluate your existing CE offerings, ask yourself whether or not it facilitates essential conversations and connections within your community. 


Incorporate LMS features that allow for easy communication and collaboration, such as: 

  • Forums 

  • Live Chat Rooms 

  • Q&A Message Boards

  • Instant Messaging 

  • Video Conferencing 


These features help facilitate workplace learning and allow for course participants to engage with each other and exchange ideas, which sets the stage for essential collaboration. 


Your association LMS must be user-friendly and easy to navigate. Ensure the accessibility of your continuing education content by optimizing it for screen readers and ensuring all components contain high-quality audio. 


Two people sit a desk using an iPad to participate in continuing education

Photo by Amy Hirschi


5. Clarify The Competency Needs Of Your Association Members

Talent development professionals look for a specific set of skills when recruiting. By identifying what competency benchmarks they are looking for, you can give your members a leg-up on the competition. 


Reach out to performance professionals in your industry to see what competencies are at the top of the list for recruiters. 


National council leaders, human resource management professionals, and others who are responsible for making hiring decisions can give you key insights that you can use when improving your association’s CE offerings. 


Once you know what companies are looking for in new hires, offer CE opportunities that target these competencies. Design new courses around the skills and competency areas that will make your association members more attractive candidates on their job hunts. 


Be sure to communicate to your members how you discovered these in-demand skills. This will boost your association’s credibility and have your members clamoring for the opportunity to participate. 


Take Your Continue Education Offerings To The Next Level With An Association LMS

In order for your association to make significant strides, it must offer tangible benefits to its members. 


Continuing education offerings and professional development opportunities are both great ways to ensure your membership association can meet the needs of its members and show the value of being a part of the organization. 


Your association must create engaging, accessible CE opportunities to help your members move further down their career paths toward their goals. 


Improve your association's CE offerings by partnering with a high-quality association LMS, like BeaconLive, to ensure your educational content is engaging and in demand. 

Contact us for more information on how our scalable platform can help improve and enhance your CE offerings.


Topics: Associations, Certificates, Continuing Education, eLearning, Membership Engagement, Professional Development

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