Launch Excellent Continuing Education Courses For Your Target Audience
Your employees and association members are lifelong learners who are serious about their careers. No matter what industry your organization operates in, professional development and continuing education are a must.
According to a recent survey, 74% of employees are willing to learn new skills and want professional development to remain employable. Your target audience constantly seeks knowledge through seminars, conferences, and webinars.
Your organization can offer continuing education opportunities, like certificate programs, training courses, and accredited coursework, as an attractive perk that is exceptionally beneficial for engaging your employees and increasing retention to prevent high turnover rates.
Creating your online training program takes a lot of effort, but the payoff cannot be ignored. Let’s look at the benefits of designing higher education courses for your target audience and how to do it in seven steps.
What Are The Benefits Of Crafting Continuing Education Programs?
Continuing education is a term used for any learning that takes place after one’s formal education. Some professionals participate in these educational enrichment opportunities, while others must obtain a certain amount of continuing education credits or CEUs each year.
Whether the CEU credit is required or not, the educational experience can have a significant impact on adult learners like your employees. This means it’s an excellent idea for your organization to learn how to become a continuing education provider.
There are many reasons why creating continuing education programs is a smart move for your brand, including:
Your Employees Demand It: 87% of millennials say that professional development opportunities are a must at any job. So offering customized PD will ensure high-quality candidates stick around.
It Boosts Your Company’s Reputation: When you design your own online course, it shows that your brand is a leader in the industry and cares about diffusing important information.
It Helps Your Organization Attract The Right People: Demonstrating that you offer quality continuing education opportunities will attract the best candidates in your yield, strengthening your team.
It Allows Your Company To Meet Its Goals: Creating an online course allows you to choose the learning objectives to help your participants meet the competency needed to take your brand to the next level.
Now that you know why it’s crucial to design your own continuing education program, you need to know how to accomplish it. Let’s look at seven ways you can create an excellent program!
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Seven Steps To Creating A High-Quality Online Course
Whether your organization doesn’t have a continuing education program or is looking to improve the one it has in place, use these seven steps to craft an effective, engaging online course that will help participants learn the skills they need to succeed in their position.
1. Choose A Stellar Continuing-education focused Learning Management System
A learning management system or LMS is a type of online learning platform and software that provides a framework for course creators to design their courses.
It handles all aspects of the learning process, centralizes your content, and even can automate the certification and licensure process. When choosing the best LMS for your organization’s needs, you should look for:
Customizable User Experience
Accessibility To Learning Materials
Forums, Virtual Conferencing, And Chat Rooms
Your continuing education provider should make it easy for you to design the online course that will best serve your target audience.
2. Identify Goals For Your Training Courses (monetization, leads, education, etc.)
Once you have chosen the best online learning platform for your needs, think about the learning objectives you want to meet through your training courses and certificate programs. You must have clear goals if you want your continuing education program to be a success.
Many course creators overlook this step and dive right into their desired topic, which means their course may not meet the needs of their target audience in the long run.
If you are unsure of which direction you want to go, consider these objectives when creating your course:
Leadership training to bring your employees further into the heart of your organization
Specific skill-building courses to improve the quality of your team
Industry-centered training to attract leads and potential employees
Project management training and development to enhance your operations
Ask yourself what you want your employees and participants to learn from your training courses. Are there any new skills that can benefit and positively impact your organization?
The answers to these questions will help you target the right objectives and goals for your new CE program.
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3. Poll Your Audience To Determine Educational Needs
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want your CE program to accomplish, reach out to your target audience for their input.
Not only will this help you sharpen your training program’s focus, but it will show potential participants that your newly designed course will meet their needs.
Send out an email survey to your employees and post the link on your social media. You can even ask your local community college for input on what credit and non-credit courses are most popular and in high demand.
This step can help you form essential partnerships that boost enrollment when your course launches.
4. Brainstorm Ideas For Development Programs
Now that you know what you want your course to accomplish and what your target audience wants, you can start identifying topics and brainstorming ideas for your continuing education program.
Since continuing education courses are deep-dives into specific topics, you’ll need to choose one that is easy to market and offers enough depth for extensive educational materials.
Meet with your human resources team, managers, and training leaders. Build your program around the needs observed by the leadership team and input from your survey. If you have one, evaluate your existing program to see whether or not it is still effective.
5. Decide On The Best Format For Your Audience (in-person, live online, on-demand)
The format of your continuing education program matters. It’s a good idea to offer a variety of formats to appeal to a more significant percentage of your target audience.
You can incorporate many different types of training and development into your program, such as:
Pre-recorded and real-time webinars
Hybrid professional development with online and in-person components
Quizzes and surveys to gauge learning targets
Choosing the format that works best for your employees will help you identify and create the best educational content possible.
6. Create and Curate High-Quality Educational Content
You’ve taken steps to ensure your course has a strong foundation. Now comes the fun part—designing the educational content to help your attendees meet their goals.
This step has unique challenges but tends to be the most gratifying for course creators. With such an overwhelming amount of information available to us, choosing the suitable materials for your online learning experience can be challenging.
Here are some ways to develop the right educational content for your continuing education course:
Consult With An Outside Training And Development Organization
Look To External Companies That Offer Professional Development Materials
Create Your Own Educational Materials
As long as you’ve taken the time to set goals for your CE program, you’ll be able to quickly identify and create the content that will help your participants reach their learning targets.
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7. Market And Launch Your Online Course
Your course has been created, edited, and reviewed. Now it’s time to launch and make sure everyone knows it’s available.
You can communicate your continuing learning program to your employees through emails and memos.
But the beauty of online learning is you can open these opportunities to others in your industry. You can do this by:
Using Google retargeting to build brand awareness.
Marketing on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Developing loyalty programs to encourage repeat participation.
Writing blog posts to get the word out about your program.
Using CME marketing techniques will ensure that your continuing education program is well promoted and available to those who need it most. This will build your company’s reputation as a leader in the industry and open doors to new partnerships that will bring your organization forward.
Create An Engaging Continuing Education Program
Creating and implementing a continuing education program may seem like an impossible task. But if you take the time to set yourself up for success, it can be a rewarding experience.
Effective CE programs can benefit your organization in various ways, from building a stronger team to attracting brand awareness.
BeaconLive has the expertise to help you design stellar continuing education programs from start to finish. We even offer customizable hosting for your continuing education catalogs, eLearning libraries, and knowledge libraries to ensure your eLearners always have access to what they need.
Contact BeaconLive to learn more about our continuing education platform and what we can do to help you offer the best program possible.