Implementing Path LMS helped ATRA earn over $500k in non-dues revenue, streamline CEU management, and enhance member engagement.
American Therapeutic Recreation Association

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is a nonprofit organization that represents the needs and interests of recreational therapists. This specialized field of healthcare providers plan, direct, deliver, and evaluate recreation-based interventions for individuals with illnesses or disabling conditions.

“Recreational Therapy means a treatment service designed to restore, remediate, and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness, as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.” (ATRA, 2009)

As the only national membership organization for recreational therapists, ATRA connects with more than 10,000 recreational therapists as both association members or recipients of ATRA services and resources.

The Challenge

Like many healthcare associations, ATRA offers continuing education to its members and recreational therapists at large. Education is central to ATRA’s mission, a valuable member benefit, and a revenue-generating opportunity for the organization.

However, before partnering with Blue Sky eLearn, ATRA faced significant challenges in managing and delivering online learning. Their previous webinars were stored on YouTube and could be purchased through their website, but the process of taking and scoring quizzes for CEUs was cumbersome, requiring a third-party management company for hand-scoring and processing

Transcript recovery was tedious, and the expenses associated with third-party management were high. The lack of an efficient, integrated system limited ATRA’s ability to innovate and improve their educational offerings.

The Solution

The ATRA board recognized the need for a more robust and flexible platform to manage their educational content. ATRA chose to implement Path LMS™ to make their offerings more relevant and accessible to the over 10,000 Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRSs), not just their members.

ATRA offers members and non-members annual subscriptions to earn continuing education units (CEUs) at varying price points. The subscription gives learners access to a library of learning modules with new content added regularly. Monetizing their learning content has led to an exponential increase in non-dues revenue from their eLearning offerings, surpassing $500k in 2024.

Since implementing Path LMS, ATRA has seen a notable increase in engagement among members. The platform has also streamlined the process for submitting and managing CEUs. ATRA’s content is pre-approved by the national credentialing body, and therapists must recertify every five years with a minimum of 50 hours of continuing education credit. Path LMS has simplified the submission and verification process, making it easier for members to comply with these requirements.

“Blue Sky eLearn’s Path LMS has proven to be a critical tool to create new revenue, keep members informed and engaged, and streamline the delivery of effective education.” — Maggie Bayerl, ATRA Education Coordinator    

But offering annual subscriptions is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to ATRA’s success. The ingenuity of the ATRA team and their ability to leverage the flexibility of Path LMS allowed them to create unique learning products that resonate with their audience and help them achieve their professional goals:

In-Person Events

The association embraces the full potential of Path LMS to create a dynamic learning portal that integrates both in-person and online professional development. In-person attendees can register for events through Path LMS, and access on-demand recordings of sessions, take surveys, and earn certificates for their attendance.

To earn CEUs and certificates during in-person events, attendees scan a QR code from the presenter in the room to “check in”, and then another QR code once the presentation is finished. The QR codes link them to a survey on ATRA’s Path LMS site which has associated CEUs. Once they complete the survey, attendees receive their credits and virtual certificates immediately.

Training Programs

ATRA also takes full advantage of the ability to bundle products in Path LMS, even creating training programs. Their Quality Internship Supervisor Training Program contains 8 modules with corresponding assessments. Learners must complete all modules to earn CEU and the certificate.

Book Club

ATRA's quarterly book club exemplifies the inventive approach the organization takes to engage its members. By leveraging the assignments feature in Path LMS, ATRA not only facilitates the distribution of physical books to its members but also gathers questions in preparation for live Q&A sessions.

Participants read the book and watch a recording of a webinar or conference that aligns with the subject matter, allowing them to earn CEUs and a certificate on their schedule—though they also conveniently provide a suggested schedule to help members pace their reading! A live web event is hosted for in-depth discussion and to address the questions collected, encouraging active participation and community building among members.

Newsletter

ATRA even hosts publications in Path LMS, including their quarterly newsletter, allowing members to read and take a follow-up assessment to earn CEUs—a quick and easy way for professionals to earn credits, and a way to monetize content for ATRA.

Through their innovative use of Blue Sky eLearn's Path LMS, ATRA has unlocked new revenue streams and transformed how they deliver continuing education to recreational therapists. By offering annual subscriptions, facilitating book clubs, hosting newsletters, and more, ATRA provides an engaging, flexible learning experience tailored to their members' needs.

The versatility of Path LMS empowered ATRA to get creative with content formats, and even allows the seamless blending of in-person and online learning components. As a result, ATRA has significantly grown its non-dues revenue from eLearning while strengthening its value to members as the leading provider of professional development for recreational therapists.

ATRA's success showcases the immense possibilities when an association pairs a cutting-edge learning platform with an innovative, member-focused mindset. By continuing to evolve their educational offerings through Path LMS, ATRA is well-positioned to shape the future of lifelong learning in their industry for years to come.

Advice for Other Healthcare Associations

“We quickly found that we have unique needs (as I’m sure most organizations do)! It has been really important to us that we have an open line of communication with the Blue Sky eLearn team to help us problem solve, expand our skills, and stay up-to-date with new features. Having a consistent Client Success Manager has been extremely important to our success. We know we can reach out and get connected to the right team member. It has also been invaluable that Path LMS is very intuitive, so our team can learn without having a baseline of advanced skills. We feel really empowered by the service.” — Maggie Bayerl, ATRA Education Coordinator

Goals

  • Improve the management and delivery of online learning
  • Increase accessibility and relevance of education for over 10,000 CTRSs
  • Streamline the process for earning and tracking CEUs
  • Enhance member engagement and satisfaction
  • Generate additional non-dues revenue through eLearning offerings

Solutions

  • Implemented Blue Sky eLearn’s Path LMS to manage educational content
  • Integrated Path LMS with ATRA's existing systems for seamless user experience
  • Developed annual subscription plans for accessing a library of learning modules
  • Automated the scoring of quizzes and issuance of certificates
  • Leveraged Path LMS features to create innovative learning products like training programs and book clubs

Results

  • Hosts nearly 300 courses on Path LMS
  • Exceeded $500K in revenue from eLearning
  • Increased member engagement and satisfaction with the learning platform
  • Simplified CEU submission and verification process
  • Enhanced the flexibility and accessibility of professional development
  • Enabled innovative educational offerings that resonate with ATRA’s audience

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