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There are a number of ways that associations can leverage online learning. In fact, the 2014 Tagoras Association Learning + Technology report showed that the trend of online learning is growing rapidly within the industry.
Their data shows that 88.7 percent of organizations provide some type of technology-based or technology-enabled learning. However, their findings also shows that most organizations appear to approach the use of technology for learning in an ad-hoc, informal way: “Less than a quarter of respondents have a formal, documented strategy for how technology will be used to enable or enhance learning.”
Imagine the potential when learning is leveraged more strategically? Thought Industries believes that associations should approach learning in what we refer to as a “holistic learning strategy.” An integrated approach to learning will deliver the most value and drive conversion, engagement, renewals and ultimately revenue.
In fact, data proves this. Tagoras’ findings also shows that having a strategy is associated with increased net revenue—69.7 percent of organizations with a strategy report technology has increased the net revenue of their educational offerings compared to only 45.5 percent of those without a strategy.
So what does that mean for you and your organization? In order for online learning to be a business driver, it must begin at the top of the funnel and be offered across the entire member experience. Here is an overview of what this looks like:
There are a number of ways to do this:
While education programs can be a direct source of revenue for some organizations, a number of additional non-direct revenue enhancement opportunities are also available as a byproduct of learning delivery. Bundling online and offline training or learning is one of the most obvious (e.g. annual conference attendance fee plus supplemental online courses). Two less used tactics include bundling additional products like books or reports and adding instructor or one-on-one coach access—both are effective in increasing the revenue per order.
One key area, that’s also the most overlooked, is sponsored learning. Advertisers are seeing the benefits of content marketing, as traditional print and online display ads have become less effective. Allowing advertisers to sponsor courses or webinars offers them the benefits of higher engagement. There is also a lot of deep data that can be collected in the learning experience, survey data, engagement metrics and completions. While not an association, Essence magazine’s EmpowerU is a great example of engaging sponsors; this is a tactic that any association could easily get up and running.