Blue Sky eLearn’s VP of Learning Strategy and Development, Dan Streeter, brought his eLearning expertise to this panel, joined by Nonprofit Leadership Alliance's Dorothy Norris-Tirrell, Vanessa Doutherd of Cypher Learning, and John Leh of Talented Learning.
Here are three key insights from the panel:
The panelists first addressed the importance of eLearning, discussing technological developments and the advantages online learning offers. Dan, leader of the Learning Strategy & Development team at Blue Sky eLearn, stated that eLearning allows learning providers to meet learning needs where they are. As Dan observed, this is a characteristic of both great classroom and digital instruction.
eLearning offers data insights that expand upon the classroom learning model. By looking at data, organizations can pinpoint the areas where learners are struggling. Moving away from what Dan called the “I taught it, you didn’t learn it model,” organizations can then identify what aspects of their programs aren’t working for learners. Data allows learning providers to continually improve their offerings.
As organizations improve learning programs, accessibility is an essential consideration. Dan highlighted the importance of following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in program design, ensuring that education is available to every learner.
Implementing an eLearning program can seem daunting. The panelists discussed strategies for bringing digital learning to your organization, highlighting the importance of creating a clear, actionable plan.
Dan noted that your organization likely already has a strategic plan. When you craft your educational plan, consider how it aligns with your organization’s overarching mission and goals. If your focus is on promoting networking, consider a social learning program. Alternatively, associations expanding member education offerings might explore more specialized learning courses.
After establishing goals for your learning program, Dan suggested dedicating a specific person to managing the project. For best results, assemble a team that includes an eLearning developer, learning management system (LMS) expert, and education strategist.
Lastly, consider how your new eLearning program will integrate with your existing tech stack. Your association management system or customer relationship management platform can provide data and support your LMS, and vice versa.
Once you’ve executed your educational plan, your eLearning program can provide a variety of benefits to your organization. John Leh of Talented Learning highlighted a key advantage of eLearning: it opens an additional revenue stream.
In addition to the knowledge and credentials learners receive from educational programs, your organization benefits from the revenue eLearning generates. As John noted, “nonprofit doesn’t mean non-revenue.” Online learning can provide funds needed to enhance your education efforts, support your mission, and broaden what your organization is capable of accomplishing.
John shared an example from his experiences working with nonprofits. When the pandemic began, nonprofits could no longer hold live events and were forced to move to a virtual model.
John found that nonprofits had their best attendance and engagement ever with online events, as they were able to connect with a global audience. Indeed, many upcoming nonprofit conferences will continue to have virtual offerings in 2023.
By creating a clear plan, nonprofits can implement new eLearning programs and learning management systems to more effectively share existing resources. Digital learning offerings expand educational opportunities, making information accessible to a broader demographic.
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