2020 has been a year of great successes and great challenges for everyone. CommPartners is no exception. With the sudden closure of place-based events due to COVID-19, we had to quickly meet our Virtual Conferencing clients’ needs while still implementing LMS’ and providing event services. So I asked some CommPartners staff to reflect on 2020 to see what we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, and if any highlights come to mind:
Julie Ratcliffe, Content Production Specialist: What are some highlights from 2020?
Kendra Matarozza, Director of Online Events: If I’m being totally honest, I think my favorite part of the year was getting glimpses into my colleague’s home life to see who is really running the roost. I’m going to fill you in on a secret—the toddlers and small children dominate, and it’s hilarious. I loved seeing them pop up on screen or doing crazy things in the background. They unintentionally bring levity to any situation and brighten the day.
Jill Norris, Project Manager Virtual Conferences: A highlight for me was witnessing the emergence of new technologies and features for the deliverance of online education and networking. Existing platforms such as our own were put on a fast track to release new features to adapt to the abundance of events and needs for delivering education and replace face to face networking opportunities.
Rich Finstein, CEO: The primary highlight for me was seeing our entire team overcome personal challenges from the pandemic to meet a dramatic influx of client requests. Many of us had to work 12 to 15 hour days. One client, in particular, was Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, or LLS. LLS produced six virtual conferences and will be doing six more in the spring. They were able to reach patients and those impacted by the disease with valuable research information and guidance from top clinicians in the field. We received notes from attendees thanking LLS for making this information so accessible.
JR: What are the tiny moments that made you smile?
JN: Haha, not sweating the small things like fur-babies or kids crying in the background when someone was presenting. Pre-COVID-19 that would’ve been a catastrophe to a live online event, and editing hours would need to happen in post-production. Now it’s just “human” and accepted. #2020
JR: How do you think this year has shaped CommPartners as a company?
RF: Since we have years of experience managing virtual conferences and livestream events, we were a company many associations turned to when COVID-19 hit. We supported hundreds of virtual conferences from March to December. While moving from place-based events to virtual was a significant change for many organizations, we saw a secondary impact. Organizations needed to think more strategically about their approach to online learning. Due to this realization, we saw a dramatic uptick in Elevate LMS placements. The synergy between Elevate and online events helped our clients with a strategic approach versus simply an event to event type of offering.
JR: Virtual Conferences were a primary service CommPartners offered this year. How did it feel to provide this service during an uncertain time?
JN: Honestly, I felt very fortunate to be in this line of business this year as many others faced so many unknowns, especially in the events industry. And it was nice to be able to provide our knowledge of virtual education to so many who had never even thought about offering this for their organization. I think my friends and family members finally understand what I do for a living.
JR: What have you learned about yourself, your team, or CommPartners this year?
KM: This year I was amazed at the resiliency of all of my coworkers. This was a challenging year professionally and personally with the madness, but it really highlighted the importance of our internal relationships. I also came to realize that there is this familial bond that forms when you see people on a daily basis, for years on end- it was nice to see how we all cared for one another and really worked to back one another up, jumping in wherever was needed.
RF: CommParters has been around for over 20 years. We have built a reputation for excellent customer care and integrity in how we support our clients. When COVID-19 arrived, organizations were seeking a company they could trust. We received over 1,000 organizations reach out to us in March and April. This made me realize that our years of investing in our clients and the reputation we created made us an obvious choice during the initial months of the pandemic. We needed to match client faith in us with a successful conference experience. While you always look back and think of things you could have done better, as a whole, we feel we came through for our clients.
CommPartners is ready to take on 2021 and continue meeting our community where their needs are, providing outstanding online education services. If you’re interested in learning more about CommPartners’ services, please contact Meghan Gowen at email@example.com.
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 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.
Meeting this moment has inspired so many organizations to embrace virtual and digital learning to connect with members and constituents in new ways. While the appetite for innovation is whet, consider these ideas for attracting and engaging new members.
While the membership packet of old has seen several upgrades, now is the perfect time to leverage your LMS for exciting opportunities to connect new members to all you offer. Online member onboarding is timely not only for our current virtually mediated moment but popular with younger professionals who want to explore – and revisit – resources at their point of need. Live webinars are not typically the best format when Zoomed-out professionals are looking for excuses to decline screen meetings.
Consider creating a choose-your-own-adventure style onboarding in your LMS aligning your organization’s services with new members’ greatest needs. Steer clear of bullet-list descriptions and lengthy presentations and instead opt for mobile-friendly storytelling. Collect brief member videos, each representing a constituency in your membership, as well as highlighting one key value proposition that tells the story of your association’s character and relevance. We really want our new members to see themselves in these stories, so they are inspired to engage. Next, present your benefits as answers to challenges, creating clear and clickable access to get started. Finally, showcase how new members can find a home within the network of professionals you represent. Consider how you can ensure a new member receives a personal, colleague-member outreach call or an invitation to a networking event, even if that’s a live chat in your LMS or texting with a Board Member within the first month of membership to welcome them to the community.
One more tip: Always recommend a next step. Each learning opportunity should end with a call to action to join you in another program.
Introduce your organization immediately upon member sign up – no waiting for the next webinar orientation presentation
Easily accessible point of need member resources giving new members a comfortable launch pad for exploring all you offer
A natural introduction to all the member-only goodies in your LMS
It doesn’t stop here. Tracy will be back next month with the next step in her learning strategies for new membership. Be sure to catch part two of this post next month, Learning Strategies for New Members: Microcredentialing.
If you’re interested in transforming your learning design, contact Tracy at email@example.com. If you’re interested in Elevate LMS or in onboarding strategies for Elevate LMS, contact Meghan Gowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learners, meet your new advisor. Elevate admins can now make personalized content recommendations to learners through a Self-Assessment Quiz. The assessment gauges a learners’ knowledge of specific focus areas or quiz categories. Upon completing the assessment, the learner is presented with a list of asset recommendations designed to improve their knowledge level within each focus area. Lower scores will offer learners beginner-level courses, and higher scores will offer more advanced courses.
As the learner completes the recommended products, they are encouraged to repeat the quiz to identify areas they have improved in and target where they still need to continue their journey based on their scores.
This is a great onboarding tool for new members to gauge a baseline in certain competencies while helping them sift through your association’s extensive learning catalog. It’s not limited to just new members, anyone learning a new skill can take a quiz to receive individualized attention, “introduce the quiz at any time as a tool to provide a more nuanced and personalized learning experience for end-users,” says Eve Finstein, Elevate Implementation Manager.
To learn how to set up a Self-Assessment Quiz, click here. If you’re interested in learning how to integrate learning path strategies into your LMS or more about Elevate, contact Meghan Gowen at email@example.com.
A Learning Management System, or LMS, is software designed for online training, tracking, and reporting that supports content creation and storage for continued learning. An LMS provides your organization or association an opportunity to create a learning community on an eLearning platform. Sound like something that would benefit your membership?
Knowing some advantages of an LMS can help your Development Team determine if an LMS is a right fit for your organization:
Create Customized Learning Paths: Create a customized learning journey for each of your members using curated content stored in your LMS. Each pathway can be adjusted as a member’s role within the organization grows and changes.
Avoid Skill Gaps: Skill gaps are the abilities a new hire might not bring to the table, but the position requires or would benefit from it. Offer training and courses to membership that creates a well-rounded professional and encourages continued learning.
Doubles as an Event Platform: An LMS can serve as an event platform. Host relevant webinars or a Town Hall once a month. Take it a step further and host your next conference virtually through your LMS.
Develop an On-Demand Learning Catalog: As your learning community grows, your resources will grow. All the content from previous events can be repurposed and reused. Upload podcasts, relevant media links, anything you think your learners will benefit from. Soon you will have a robust catalog of knowledge within your LMS to draw and learn from at any time.
Measure Performance: Track and report the performance of members to watch growth, target weak points, and acknowledge achievements.
Onboard Members: Create learning paths for membership onboarding, so each new member is familiar with organization culture and procedures.
Certification Opportunities: Allow members to keep up with professional certifications easily.
Reach Membership Virtually: For organizations with wide-spread membership, an LMS provides a way to reach each learner. An LMS prepares your organization for online learning.
When considering an LMS for your organization, do your research. Understand you are creating a knowledge community for your organization while reaching membership in a new way. To find out more about CommPartners’ LMS, Elevate, click here or contact Meghan Gowen, VP of Client Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.