Learning Strategies for New Members: Microcredentialing

Learning Strategies for New Members: Microcredentialing

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.

 

Wins
  • 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:

  1. What assets do we have, what do we need, and what can be modified to create our new member onboarding journey?
  2. 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 info@inspired-ed.com. If you’re interested in Elevate LMS or in onboarding strategies for Elevate LMS, contact Meghan Gowen at mgowen@commpartners.com.

Learning Strategies for New Members: Onboarding

Learning Strategies for New Members: Onboarding

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.

 

 

Wins
  • 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 info@inspired-ed.com. If you’re interested in Elevate LMS or in onboarding strategies for Elevate LMS, contact Meghan Gowen at mgowen@commpartners.com.

Eyeballs Not Zzz: Keeping Virtual Learners Engaged

Eyeballs Not Zzz: Keeping Virtual Learners Engaged

Keeping your learners attention during a Virtual Conference or a Webinar can be a challenge. You had an awesome, 3-day conference planned with all these great activities to make your event interactive, but now you’re forced to go virtual. Attendees who were once going to be bright, shining faces right in front of you, are now faceless figures behind a screen. Are they paying attention to the presenters, or are they scrolling through Instagram? Or are they taking a Buzzfeed quiz to find out which Mamma Mia song fits their personality?

Tracy King, CEO and Chief Learning Strategist of InspirEd, has tips to ensure you’re getting eyes and ears during your virtual eLearning event and not daydreamers.

Session Lengths and Breaks

Even if your learners typically work from home, a Virtual Conference can be a very different learning experience, “consuming content through a screen is fatiguing, and it’s a space we are not used to attending and focusing [on],” says Tracy. Design your sessions with your learners in mind, so your event doesn’t feel like an endurance marathon. When determining session length, consider learning outcomes and the medium, but generally, Virtual Conference sessions should be short about 30-45 minutes. If you plan to go longer, make sure you include interaction (more on that later) and breaks.

Breaks are essential. Presenters and learners need time to stretch, check email, grab a snack/drink, and the ever-necessary bio break. They won’t want to miss a single second of the stellar programming you lined up. To make sure you are giving your learners enough breaks, follow Tracy’s lead:

  • 90 minute session = 5 minute break
  • Half-day sessions = 15 minute breaks every 90 minutes

Let your learners know when to expect breaks and when exactly they start and stop. Stick to those times. Do not let stragglers derail your conference agenda. If the break is 10 minutes, begin promptly after those 10 minutes are up.

If you’re still unsure of how to design your session, Tracy suggests following the 10×10 Rule: 10 minutes of content and 10 minutes of interaction. The idea is not to be regimented and constantly alternating but for equal parts presentation to equal parts interaction. Speaking of interaction…

Make it Interactive

Don’t shy away from interactivity just because your conference is virtual. Depending on the platform you chose to use for your conference, there may be a host of tools for you to make session hands-on. CommPartners integrates with Zoom, which features tools like a chatbox, whiteboard, Q&A, and polling. These tools can be used as ice breakers, but they should be used to advance learning as well, says Tracy:

  • Use the whiteboard in small groups for collaborative projects.
  • Poll learners to gauge opinions.
  • Facilitate discussion and reflection in the chatbox.

Within CommPartners’ Elevate LMS, or Learning Management System, there are opportunities to make the website interactive for learners:

  • Include discussion boards to facilitate conversation, include industry experts as discussion moderators.
  • Embed a welcome video introducing your learners to the conference. Make it interactive by giving them a fun task to complete, like asking them to comment where they are joining from on the discussion board.
  • If your conference has an Exhibit Hall, utilize chat features so exhibitors and attendees can converse at a booth.
  • Create a site scavenger hunt to encourage your learners to explore the whole website, directing them to important features. The winners can receive a prize!

Put the Net in Networking

One aspect of conferences that attendees look forward to the most is the opportunity to network and socialize with other industry professionals. Just because your conference has switched to a virtual platform doesn’t mean the opportunity has to go away. Take advantage of the popular Virtual Happy Hours. Try focusing each Happy Hour around a specific topic, profession, or a previous session so they don’t become overwhelming with too many participants.

Another way to keep the conversation going is to add specific discussion boards or chat rooms to your website specifically dedicated to networking and socializing. Direct your learners to those areas of your website during downtime in the schedule or after learning has taken place. Learners are welcome to take their conversations offline, away from the conference as well.

 

Going virtual doesn’t mean you need to throw everything you have planned out the window. It is an opportunity to get creative with the tools and the platform you’ve selected. Your learners registered for your conference, ready to consume your quality content, which has not changed. Following these tips will make your learners comfortable, keeping them engaged for the length of the conference.

Click here for more information

For more information about how to engage your learners, contact marketing@commpartners.com. Learn more about education strategy and learning design as well as find Tracy King at inspired-ed.com.