How Associations Can Upgrade Their Certification Program with Modern Learning Technology

associations lms tech post
Alan Hiddleston
August 10, 2023

If you offer your members professional certifications, then credentials, certification programs and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) offer a powerful opportunity for today’s associations and member organizations to take their offering to the next level. Modern learning technology is the best way to take your certification program up a notch.

A great certification program allows organizations to transfer valuable skills and knowledge in a standardized way, and is an important part of skills and knowledge development for members. 62% of members feel strongly about this, and say certifications are an important benefit of their membership. 

That’s why leveling up your certifications makes smart business sense. These programs reinforce your association’s own value as a voice to listen to in the industry, and broaden your visibility to the general public. Associations with high-impact certifications earn increased loyalty from their members, as well as direct revenues from those that take the course or gain the credential.

Why Scaling a Certification Program Can Be Challenging

Of course, a best-in-class certification program doesn’t happen overnight. Maintaining and managing a certification program can be time-consuming, and involve many manual processes as you update questions and skills-based assessments, or as industry best practices evolve over time. 

When a lot of work is completed manually, scale is always a challenge. As your membership grows, and demand for certifications or accreditations increases, how will you accommodate these needs? If certifications become out of date, or members have to wait to gain certification, you’ll lose your legitimacy and perhaps the loyalty of your members, too. 

These challenges are amplified if your association is using a homegrown LMS to support its certification programs. This technology will need to be continually updated in-house to keep up with growing demand. And, as it’s not built for external learning, every new feature will need a complex workaround or a compromise. 

3 Ways Modern Learning Tech Can Streamline Your Complex Certification Program

With modern learning technology that’s built for purpose, managing a certification program comes out-of-the-box. Here are three ways we support customers in meeting their goals using Thought Industries: 

1. We make progress visible

From each learner’s dashboard, they can see exactly what courses they’re enrolled in, and certifications achieved. On the back-end, edit your layouts on the fly with templates for support pages, landing pages and course catalogs that are easily edited with a drag and drop site builder. 

A customizable learner dashboard keeps learners focused and means their progress is always visible. Strong community features promote social learning, allowing learners to compare their achievements against their peers, too. Include due dates, notifications, reminders, and assigned tasks – so that learners are always able to stay on track. 

2. We boost engagement

Our platform offers AI-based engagement and learning tools to keep learners motivated all the way across that finish line. Think gamification and leaderboards, targeted course content, adaptive learning paths, and a smart recommendation engine that delivers the right content to the right learner at the right time. 

One great example of an engagement tool that makes an impact is our AI Coach, powered by Bongo. Learners are encouraged to upload a video of themselves sharing the knowledge or skills that they have been taught. They can practice as many times as they need, in a safe environment. Then, they’ll be provided with real-time feedback and guidance, scalable to as many learners as you need. 

3. We enable personalized learning at scale

Native course and content authoring means no more switching between platforms to get your certification exactly how you want it. Create highly interactive courses and content with more than 25 content types, as well as quizzes, assignments, tests, adaptive learning paths, and micro-learning. 

The perfect certification means nothing if you can’t support a growing learner base in a personalized way. At Thought Industries, we use Panorama to ensure each account can have a branded, dedicated learning environment, customized and distributed according to its exact needs. Unlike traditional LMS platforms that offer branded portals your organizational members can have full administrative control over their portal. Administrators can manage content using Central Asset Manager, and see changes reflected across the right customers. This includes full control over users, catalog, content and other configuration in their own dedicated site. 

Watching the Impact in Action: Here’s how the Linux Foundation Did It

“Our certification workflow is extremely complex. There’s a lot of nuance to how we present those products. Thought Industries’ core product gets us most of the way there, but we now have access to their headless framework, Helium, to customize where we need it. Our team is really excited about that.”

Clyde Seepersad, Senior Vice President for Training and Certification

A collaboration of over 19,000 companies through 400+ open source projects, the Linux Foundation relied on both homegrown and external systems before Thought Industries. The organization was struggling to customize, monetize, and scale. 

Since onboarding Thought Industries’ enterprise learning platform in 2020, the organization’s training and certification has grown 50%, and become a multi-million dollar revenue source. They’ve been able to scale global certification for more than 200,000 individuals through online and in-person courses, videos, labs, written materials and exams. Training has been administered to more than 300,000 professionals around the world. This includes customized content development and distribution handled via Panorama for dozens of partners and authorized resellers. 

In addition, Thought Industries’ native ecommerce functionality means the foundation can package their certifications with ultimate flexibility, targeting courses at both B2B and B2C, as well as via direct and indirect sales channels.

An Impactful Certification Program is Closer than You Think

Without a scalable infrastructure supporting their certification program, associations are missing a trick. With modern learning technology, certifications don’t need to add huge resource overheads, and can instead become an even more powerful source of revenue and member loyalty. 

To reach and surpass these goals, look for an enterprise solution that makes learning intuitive and progress visible for the end-user, engages the learner every step of the way, and includes the tools and technology to personalize at scale. 

Want to see how it works in action? Schedule a demo of the Thought Industries platform.

post member engagement

Digital, Seamless Solutions for Building Member Engagement

Read More

Thought Industries to Showcase the Power of External Learning at Learning Technologies 2024

Read More