At the 2017 Higher Logic Super Forum, I along with an association colleague, facilitated a session on the virtues of developing an integrated approach for bringing together online community engagement and an LMS in a single offering. During the session, we discussed how associations typically have these areas configured as unique components. In reality, both provide opportunities for learning. Since an online community engagement strategy is usually focused on facilitating peer collaboration, and the learning management system (LMS) provides expert content, it’s natural they come together to support the stakeholder experience in a synergistic way.
A key connector in this relationship are live online events and webinars. Traditionally, live events and webinars have been positioned on their own through a registration and authentication page provided by the webinar vendor or a separate catalog of programs. A better, more engaging approach is to promote and provide access to these events within a private community.
Here are 5 considerations for using live, online events and webcasts to increase the impact of your online community engagement strategy:
- Registration will feel like a continuum of existing collaboration. Participants who have already been invested in the topic can now be encouraged, in an intuitive way, to take the step to register and participate in online discussions.
- Participation from new and non-engaged members is encouraged with an integrated approach. Live, online events and webinars are tangible ways to draw participants to specific areas of your Web presence. Offering them through a dedicated part of your LMS gives users a reason to create a profile and begin to participate in other social learning and online community engagement opportunities.
- Leverage interaction before and after an online event or webcast. Participants should be able to see who is attending, exchange ideas, and engage the presenters before the event. Afterward, users can continue any conversations that may have been cut short (which happens often!) during an hour program.
- Integrate results from live event and webinar attendance with other participation metrics, providing a complete picture of online community engagement. Host organizations will appreciate having a central repository to evaluate participation outcomes.
- Award badges or ribbons for participation or achievement from webinars in the same area where recognition is provided for other activities. Providing recognition will further encourage participation in future live, online events.
We see webinars and live events becoming much more collaborative and transparent. Bringing them into your online community is a natural way to build participation and provide synergy with your other educational objectives.
If you have interest in learning more about integrating events and webinars with your community contact us online, or email Meghan Gowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.