Technology has done something interesting to the word “authenticate.” Once meaning “to establish as genuine,” today, authenticate is typically associated with a correct matching-up of codes or reference numbers to permit access. It signals who the participant is and triggers the opportunity to provide a more meaningful online experience. We often hear the criticism that, as our world becomes more and more digitized; we lose that authentic human connection. While that may be fine in some genres, in other areas like shopping and learning online, which previously involved face-to-face interaction, there is a need to replicate personal interaction of two people together.

Amazon, for example, currently has approximately 200 million products on sale in the U.S. If it did not develop a way to learn something about the unique shoppers based on their authentication, it would likely do a pretty abysmal business as customers struggle to cut through the noise to find what it is they are looking for. One of the reasons Amazon is so successful is because it’s found a way to personalize the user experience.

We had this “Amazon model” in mind when we created our non-profit and association learning management system, Elevate. Like Amazon, we wanted to create a method to cut through the noise and personalize the user experience.

For us, this starts with single sign-on so users are immediately recognized. Leveraging this integration, we are able to provide five critically important benefits that support the learner experience. They include:

  1. Specific learning opportunities based on interest or role: Content recommended to each learner can be placed on the login page or any other page of the site. This shows you know who the participant is and are recommending content specifically for them. Providing specific opportunities helps you create relevant and more personal experiences.
  2. Organization of the catalog by relevancy to the learner: Elevate goes beyond merely listing e-learning products chronologically or alphabetically.  Associations using Elevate can divide their content into topic specific categories. These categories can then be displayed in their own homepage widget or sub-page to help users find the exact content they need.
  3. Creation of packages or learning paths: Support the progression of knowledge over multiple programs with a learning path designed to allow learners to achieve a specific certificate or competency using a multitude of e-learning tools.
  4. Private content for unique groups such as new members, people that recently renewed, boards, committees and staff.  All e-learning materials within Elevate can be set to be visable to all users, or limited to a specific sub-set of users. Associations can use this tool to grant special access to certain programs as a member-benefit, ensure that different member-groups see learning activities that are most relevant to them, and/or create special learning activities for your board, conference committee, or other specialized member sub-group.
  5. Pricing that is unique for each participant based on their status or other attributes.

For more information about Elevate LMS and/or this article, please email Eve Finstein at