As we continue to dive into CommPartners, CEO Rich Finstein’s The Evolution of the Association LMS: 10 Considerations for 2020, we learn that personalization means identifying, tracking, and educating your learners in a personal and individualized way. A great way to do that is to design personalized learning paths. These journeys or paths can set your LMS apart from the myriad of eLearning options presented to learners today. Your learners benefit from all the advantages of being a part of an association plus have access to a robust LMS with curated content.
The best way to begin designing personal paths based on competencies is to lay the essential foundations. Throughout this series, we’ve proposed three considerations for enhancing your LMS to enrich your learners’ experience. While it takes time to plan and apply these ideas, we want to show you what can happen when you combine Community + Organization + Credentialing to create personalized learning journeys.
Follow these steps to create personalized learning paths:
Your content can then be separated into categories or learning tracks. Those tracks can be organized based on member role, publish date, expertise level, job title – whatever makes sense for your organization.
The learner can either begin their journey right there and take classes within the track that most closely applies to them or follow the next steps for an even more curated learning journey.
Next, using a competency assessment, like CommPartners’ Self-Assessment Quiz, assess your learners’ strengths and weaknesses. Because you’ve applied a robust taxonomy strategy to your content, your learners can take the quiz and have custom content recommended to them based on identified skill gaps.
Now your learners can dig into their learning journey.
As they move along through courses, reward your learners with digital badges when they complete courses or obtain a skill. A digital badge is a portable digital icon embedded with data that verifies a learner’s skills, credentials, and continuing education experiences. Badges are a tangible token they can share with their community to confirm the skills they’ve obtained.
You should also include engagement points throughout your learner’s journey. You can add personalized discussion posts on webinars to facilitate community and informal learning between peers. Look into whether your LMS allows your learners to create profiles, like Elevate’s Connect Module. Creating a unique profile with direct and group messaging allows for personal engagement between users.
Once a track is complete, use your LMS testing capabilities to ensure they have met the standard for completion and award a certificate. The certificate symbolizes mastery in the subject.
At this point, the learner can take another self-assessment quiz for a new learning track and begin a new learning journey if they desire.
If you’re still unsure how to create a personal learning journey for your learners, check our on-demand webinar: Creating Personalized Learning Journeys. It comes with a toolkit that breaks this idea down even further.
If you’re interested in exploring your Elevate LMS capabilities or any of the tools presented in this blog, reach out to your Elevate representative or contact Meghan Gowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a guest post written by Mallory Gott MA, CAE, founder + creative director of G+A | An Experiential Design Firm. Mallory has traveled the globe designing amazing experiences for people from all walks of life and across a breadth of industries and specialties. From product and brand repositioning to customer acquisition to organizational cultural restructuring, she helps for-and non-profit clients apply G+A’s proprietary design thinking framework to discover solutions to their seemingly unsolvable problems.
The Lottery Effect
Really, think about it. What would you do if you learned that you had just won the jackpot, that you were a newly minted multimillionaire? Most of us could rattle off a series of replies as if we’d been rehearsing them in the mirror each morning for decades. “Quit my job, travel the world, hire a private chef.” The list could go on ad infinitum.
Now, consider how doing those things would make you feel. Quitting your job? Most likely, that would evoke feelings of freedom and/or cheerfulness. Traveling the world? Adventurousness, excitement, or giddiness. Hiring a private chef? Calm and relaxation.
Yes, each of the things we’d dream of doing were we to win the lottery, we dream of doing because we believe they produce for us highly desirable feelings: freedom, excitement, relaxation, etc. This idea, that solving an unsolvable problem, i.e., winning the lottery, produces specific outcomes, i.e., hiring a private chef, which enables us to experience desired feelings (relaxation) is what we call The Lottery Effect. Interestingly, The Lottery Effect is not just restricted to fantasizing about the mega millions.
As event creators, we often fall prey to The Lottery Effect. We set ourselves up for disappointment believing the false paradigm that only in solving an unsolvable problem can produce specific outcomes, which in turn evoke the “right” feelings both for attendees and ourselves.
Case in point, we ask ourselves questions like, “How can I create a virtual event that meets attendees’ needs and successfully replaces a place-based conference?” Upon closer inspection, however, this seemingly innocuous question falls squarely into Lottery Effect territory, sounding, to our unconscious minds, something like this:
“Once we can convince attendees that we’ve created a virtual event that will meet their needs and they believe will adequately replace our annual conference, we will achieve our registration goals, better satisfaction scores, and an improved bottom line, which will make us feel more secure, confident, and satisfied.”
Notice any similarities?
Winning the Lottery
Once I win the lottery
Once I convince attendees that we’ve created a virtual event that will meet their needs and that they believe adequately replaces our annual conference
Quit my job Travel the World Hire a Private Chef
Ample registration High attendee satisfaction Increased revenue
Freedom Adventure Relaxation
Confidence Security Satisfaction
The Lottery Effect: A W(ere)wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Although the unsolvable problem questions that comprise the first portion of our Lottery Effect statements almost always seem important and worthwhile, they are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing, or, more accurately, werewolves in sheep’s clothing. In reality, these seemingly crucial questions create an even more demanding series of implied requirements for success setting us on an extremely narrow path to victory.
When we begin with questions that so narrowly define success, we are forced to identify elusive answers to those questions, silver bullets if you will, as the only means by which we can generate outcomes that will enable us to experience desired feelings. Suddenly, the search for silver bullets, rather than the design of experiences that evoke universally recognizable feelings, drives everything we do.
In the case of winning the lottery, the question “How do I win the lottery,” and the even more demanding requirements it implies (in order to win the lottery, I must identify the correct sequence of numbers from an enormous array of choices, pick the correct date on which to buy a ticket, and so on) may seem laughable, but when viewed through the lens of virtual event design, they are much more sobering for teams who hadn’t realized the sizeable, self-imposed roadblocks they are navigating.
From the well-meaning question, “How do we convince attendees that we’ve created a virtual event that will meet their needs and they believe adequately replaces our annual conference,” springs forth a slew of nearly insurmountable, implied obstacles. The question transforms into this unspoken statement:
“In order to convince attendees that we’ve created a virtual event that will meet their needs and they believe adequately replaces our annual conference, we must:
Accurately identify and prioritize the needs of a wide variety of individuals;
Convince that same diverse group that we hold the monopoly on the definition of their needs and can simultaneously fulfill them via a single event;
Define “adequate replacement” for a divergent body of stakeholders and garner their universal acceptance of that definition; and
Achieve attendance, revenue, and satisfaction goals.”
Many groups never recognize how heavily implied, absolute truths such as these influence their evaluation and prioritization of the design of the million tiny touchpoints that create a virtual event experience. They unknowingly dilute the potency of a feelings-led design approach, crippling their ability to create experiences which resonate with people on a much deeper level of emotions.
“We’ve just got to get through this,” becomes a common refrain and rallying cry once the Lottery Effect has created its false binary, which tauntingly jeers, “discover the solution to your unsolvable problem by navigating a difficult obstacle course of implied demands in the hopes that people will connect with what you create…or fail.”
The Lottery Effect: You’re Already a Winner
Fortunately, the Lottery Effect problem is far from unsolvable. In fact, it only requires a paradigm inversion. In place of a “solve first, feel next” approach, G+A’s 4D experiential design thinking framework employs our unique “feel first, solve next” approach. What do feelings have to do with virtual event design? The same thing they have to do with good design of any kind: universality.
When we begin with feelings first, the difficulty, struggle, confusion, and other commonly accepted ‘realities’ inherent to virtual event design fall away. Why? Because feelings are universally understood on a level that needs no definition for attendees or producers, effectively creating immediate success and rendering decision-making and evaluation effortless.
Returning one last time to the quandary, “How do we convince attendees that we’ve created a virtual event that will meet their needs and they believe adequately replaces our annual conference,” we can see how a feelings-led approach truly shines.
In place of trying to convince attendees, we can ask ourselves:
Are we confident in the program we’ve produced?
Are we confident in our messaging about the program, both tone and content?
Are we confident in the level of innovation our program includes?
Instead of grappling with how best to meet attendees’ needs, we can ask ourselves:
Are we secure in our approach to assessing those needs?
Are we secure in our efforts to address them?
Are we secure in our communication about what we’ve done and why?
In lieu of hoping to create an adequate replacement for an annual conference, we can ask ourselves:
Are we satisfied that we have designed a high-quality virtual event experience that can stand on its own two feet?
Are we satisfied with the experience we created for ourselves as a team while we planned and produced the event?
Are we satisfied that we’ve done the best we could, no matter the monetary outcome?
If and when we respond to a feelings-led question in the negative, we need only ask simple follow-ups to regain our footing and move forward confidently: How can we evoke desired feelings as we design this touchpoint? How can we once again feel first and solve next?
As more and more learners migrate online and associations expand their LMS offerings, it’s time to consider creating a robust professional development experience by rewarding learners for accomplishing courses or personalized learning paths. Digital badges and certifications are confirmations of accomplishments that learners can carry with them throughout their careers.
While we continue looking deeper into CommPartners’ CEO Rich Feinstein’s The Evolution of the Association LMS: 10 Considerations for 2020, we consider why certification opportunities and digital credentialing are worthy investments for your LMS. Sometimes these tools can be an additional investment to your LMS, but it’s really an investment in your learners. Not only do they measure achievements, badges and certificates are tangible assets with defined outcomes your members can use professionally.
When considering including a badging or certification program with your LMS, it’s important to understand how they work:
Integrating badges into your LMS A digital badge is a portable digital icon embedded with data that verifies a learner’s skills, credentials, and continuing education experiences. Badges function in 3 parts:
Motivation: Badges act as motivation for learners to continue on their learning journey. When rewarded for completing courses, it encourages more participation. When learners can share their badges on their favorite social media channels or within the LMS, it motivates them to earn more to share more.
Assessment: A badge is obtained when knowledge is obtained, thereby assessing skills and tracking progress. As they continue to build on their skills, they will gain more badges and target areas that require more attention.
Credential: Badges act as credentials. Learners can share badges on their favorite social media channels to show their achievements and verify their particular expertise in a subject.
Issuing certifications from your LMS
Another way to measure success and provide value through your LMS is through certifications. Many association members are looking for professional development opportunities and providing your members with a virtual option to obtain and maintain their professional certifications is a must. Issuing certifications through your LMS creates an organized and simple solution for your members to continue growing and learning.
Issuing certifications is simple when your LMS and AMS integrate seamlessly. Your LMS will track progress, results, and credits automatically without you or learners having to stop and thinking about it. Your certification module will track pre-requisites, credits earned, hours spent, etc. and record it to a transcript.
Obtain and Maintain Certification
Many associations and professions require specific certifications or licenses’ to practice within a field. When members can obtain and maintain their certifications through your LMS, it becomes a one-stop-shop experience.
Measurement of Success
Similar to a digital badge, your organization has the option to provide your learners with a certificate confirming they’ve completed a course or learning pathway and achieved a level of expertise in a subject. A certificate can point out skill gaps and areas where extra attention is necessary. It can also prove attendance for certain professional events and conferences to receive credits from issuing organizations.
Investing in certification and digital badging means providing opportunities for your learners to grow their skillsets and encourages them to explore your LMS content. They will begin mastering content and broader levels of expertise, attracting an increased number of participants. This is incredibly important during this time of amplified virtual learning.
If you are interested in incorporating badging into your LMS or want to learn more about Elevate LMS, contact Meghan Gowen at email@example.com.
This is a guest post written by Tracy King, CAE. As CEO of InspirEd, Tracy King leverages her more than 20 years in workforce development consulting with organizations on education strategy and learning design. Tracy is the author of Competitive Advantage: Create Continuing Education that is Profitable, Sustainable and Impactful, and she advises on how to grow reliably profitable and sustainable continuing education programs that transform learners. Tracy specializes in the intersection of learning science and technology. She’s a thought leader, invited speaker, master learning designer and DELP Scholar. Her work has been featured on NBC, ABC, FOX, USA Today, The Star Tribune and hundreds of nationally-syndicated television, newspaper, and magazine outlets. Tracy is a contributor to Microlearning in the Digital Age: The Design and Delivery of Learning in Snippets forthcoming by Routledge, Taylor & Francis group.
Learning inherently solves problems. It is designed to help us be or do something new, better, or differently. Learning programs that resolve top of mind challenges are a member prospect magnet. If you’ve been considering getting into the microcredentialing game, target the member segment you want to grow and build quick-win problem-solution learning that offers digital badge credibility (of course branded to your association).
Ideally, this should be the next step call to action you offer after member onboarding. While any of your meaty digital programs could serve as that next step, microlearning is easy to commit to and can be accessed via mobile for those professionals who just can’t take another minute in front of their laptop screen. If you’re going to design microlearning curriculum that solves problems and inspires behavior change, your organization and your new member both benefit from taking the additional step to qualify it as a digital badge. Your new member gets to solve a problem and share their accomplishment. Your organization’s visibility as the problem solver naturally grows.
One more tip: Free microlearning should dovetail into paid programs conveniently located in your LMS to learn more and tackle deeper skill development. By winning trust with a quality initial learning engagement, an additional investment becomes an easier decision to make.
Quick-win learning is an easy commitment and has higher completion rates
Giving new members a micro byte generates an appetite for higher-investment learning programs
Getting new members started immediately increases the likelihood they will realize membership value – and sharing their digital badge tells your story in their network giving you greater market visibility
These ideas work in tandem so it’s important that you familiarize yourself with both parts of this series. Once you feel comfortable with both Part 1 and 2 of Learning Strategies for New Members, it’s time to implement these strategies:
Start with what you have and map out the digital pieces you need to complete your programs so you can divide and conquer. Consider:
What assets do we have, what do we need, and what can be modified to create our new member onboarding journey?
What critical pain points could we begin addressing through microcredentialing that would not only attract new prospects but become the perfect segue to our paid programs?
With these strategies, you will be prepared to meet new members with curated content that will guide them effortlessly through your learning catalog.
If you’re interested in transforming your learning design, contact Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in Elevate LMS or in onboarding strategies for Elevate LMS, contact Meghan Gowen at email@example.com.
When running a marathon or 5K, there is usually something that pulls you towards the finish line. Something that keeps you going to the next mile when you feel like giving up. Something that makes you want to do it all over again.
For some, it may be the health benefits; for others, it may be the thrill of the sport; maybe it’s the satisfaction of completing something. No matter what it is, you receive a symbol of your accomplishment when you finish the race. A medal. That symbol tells you that you worked hard, completed a task, and now you have a tangible token to share with your community of your success and skill.
Learners need the same thing. As they work their way through content, you may consider using digital badges as encouragement and rewards for a job well done. Incorporating badging into your LMS is a great way to motivate membership while validating their accomplishments.
Before you offer badges to your learners, check out our “do’s and don’ts” of badging:
DO implement a badging strategy: Handing out random badges is not a good idea. Make sure there are criteria for each learner to meet to earn a badge. That criteria should include course structure, pre-requisites, who approves the badges, who is eligible, etc.
DON’T forget to pair with a trusted badging expert: CommPartners integrates with BadgeCert to provide our Elevate clients with badging credentials. Badges are only as good as the organization providing them. BadgeCert issues 100% verifiable badges giving your achievements standardization and validity.
DO use it a motivator: At the heart of badging is motivation. By rewarding your learners’ achievements, they will want to continue learning and achieving.
DON’T make it too easy: Create skills-based (soft or hard) badges for learners in specific fields or job-tracks. Create badges to strive for!
DO make badges shareable: Badges are evergreen, meaning they stay with a leaner from position to position. Posting badges on social media is an excellent way to share expertise with their network while receiving colleagues’ endorsements.
DON’T over-badge: According to Ginger Malin, Founder and EVP of BadgeCert, “you want to be careful not to ‘over-badge.’ We suggest as a rule of thumb that badges should be assigned for either course completion or for modules that can stand on their own. This way, even if an individual does not want or need to initially share the badge, they would have a verifiable digital credential to share when desired.”
DO encourage LMS exploration: Award learners with a badge for exploring your LMS site. They will benefit from gaining an intimate knowledge of the site when they begin their learning journey.
Whether badges are shared on networking sites or within the LMS, digital badging provides your learners with the motivation to continue their professional development path while expanding their expertise from LMS content. To learn more about Elevate LMS or how to incorporate digital badging into your LMS, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.