We must be kidding, right? Well, yes and no! We’ve talked to plenty of organizations who don’t believe they are ready or qualified to purchase a learning management system because of lack of content. While you can’t really launch an LMS with no content, you probably already have some waiting in the wings and can get up and running much sooner than you think!
There is a good chance you have some white papers available on your website. Or maybe blog posts that could be updated and turned into white papers. Instead of leaving these on your regular website, move any educational white papers over to your LMS.
If you’ve already recorded your most recent conference(s) then, bam!, you have some content ready to upload. If not, no problem. Look into pricing for getting sessions recorded at your next one. You can decide to record the entire conference with videos of the presenters; or save some money and only record audio and slides or a portion of the conference. You can take this content and make it available for free to your entire audience or choose to charge non-members or those who didn’t attend the conference in-person. You can bundle sessions together in packages by topic, sell them individually, or sell the entire conference as one bulk price.
We’ve seen plenty of clients set up interview rooms onsite at conferences and record short interviews with subject matter experts while they have them in one place. This can also give you an opportunity to interview people who may not be presenting at the conference but have valuable information to share. Interviews don’t need to solely be done on video at a conference, either. You can record them remotely or even in more of a podcast-style.
It would only make sense that interviews would segway into podcasts. Podcasts can provide a lower barrier to entry to subject matter experts who don’t want or have the time to spend putting together a fancy slide deck for a webinar presentation. They also remove the complexity of having a live audience and also scheduling them at a time when you’d hope to attract the most attendees. We recommend getting a few of these recorded before you start releasing them so that you’re ready to release them consistently and can build a subscriber base.
Even if your on-demand content isn’t ready to view, that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize your LMS for webinar registration. You can also wrap things like pre- and post-tests, evaluations, and certificates around live webinars. Then, once the webinar is complete you have an on-demand presentation or course at your fingertips!
Another thing to think about at your conferences and meetings is live streaming some of it out to a virtual audience. This instantly expands your reach and can increase your non-dues revenue if you’re charging virtual attendees. You can choose to only stream the keynotes to streaming the entire thing and create different packages for virtual attendees to purchase. Then, just like the regular conference recordings, you can make these recordings available on your LMS after the event.
While we see a lot of our clients utilizing conference recordings and virtual events as part of their offerings, plenty of them are also creating standalone on-demand courses. This might seem overwhelming to you, so you could take a stab at micro-learning – producing shorter bits of content that are typically on more specific topics that award someone a certificate or stackable credit versus an entire certification. You could utilize SMEs who have presented on past webinars and in past conferences to help create the content as well.
Last, but not least, the big kahuna, your standalone, on-demand courses. If you’re not sure where to start we recommend seeing what sessions are most popular at your conferences, and what you can create that can award your learners continuing education credit (if applicable). Then, your standalone courses can be as simple as a pre-test, presentation, post-test, evaluation, and certificate. You could take things a step further and incorporate some sort of assignment submittal or get creative with SCORM packages.
There’s a good chance if your audience needs to be taking any exams, they are using practice tests to help them prepare. And you’re probably already providing these to them, but maybe on a different website or by a different delivery method (paper, perhaps?!). Move those practice tests to your LMS and let your learners take them over and over again.
Deciding to move forward with a learning management system and then implementing it is a big decision and a large undertaking. You’ll want to make sure you’ve thought through your goals and what you are hoping to achieve in the short and long term. But, don’t let the content or lack of content overwhelm you too much! With our suggestions above you should be able to have a good collection before your launch date and continue building from there!