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Party of One? How to Manage Your Association’s Education

Party of One: How to Manage Your Association's Education

 

Raised HandRaise your hand if “providing education and learning opportunities” is part of your association’s mission statement and/or core values.

With such a focus on education, isn’t it surprising when an association’s membership and events teams often have whole teams of staff, while an education department might have only a couple employees…or even only ONE?

Here are some tips for when you’re navigating the association waters with limited resources and bandwidth:

Don’t silo yourself.

Meet with all the other departments in your association to identify new educational opportunities. Can your meetings team host session recordings in your association’s LMS? Can your membership department drive a campaign by offering a free webinar as a teaser? Can your marketing department identify new segments to promote a course to a broader audience? Let them know what you’re up to, and find ways to work together.

Your SMEs are your secret weapon.

Utilize your engaged members, volunteers and subject matter experts. Ask for their help reviewing and updating content. Bring them together for a live webinar panel discussion. Here are some additional tips for utilizing volunteers!

Take a course or attend a webinar.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our to-do lists we forget what it’s like to be a learner.  Swap seats and attend a course, a webinar, or both. When were you most engaged? When did you get distracted and reach for your phone? What are the differences between the in-person learning experience and the online learning experience? Keep these takeaways in mind when developing your own learning experiences.

Work closely with your vendors.

The platforms and services you use in your education department are run by companies that have seen it all. Ask your vendor for examples of what similar organizations have done successfully. Ask for suggestions of what you could tweak in your association’s Learning Management System, webinars or course materials that will create a more engaging learning experience.

Be flexible.

“But this is the way we do things!” isn’t always going to work. Your audience is changing. Technology is changing.  Don’t let your education stay stagnant while your learners move on to other organizations offering something new and exciting.

You are not alone!

Reach out to the many online communities in the association space and learning industries. Post your challenges. Ask for ideas!  You might even make some new professional connections while you’re at it!

 

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