by Amber Winter of Web Courseworks
Lifelong learning and continuing education opportunities help industry professionals stay on top of recent developments in their field and remain established as leaders. But the way that adult learning is delivered and managed has evolved significantly.
That’s why it’s important for your learning business to stay on top of modern approaches to learning and take advantage of the ones that make sense for your organization and your learners.
Beyond exploring the motivation behind learning, it’s important to explore the learning process. By making the learning process engaging and useful for your learners, they’ll be more likely to complete the courses you offer and continue taking more.
I’ve outlined some pillars of modern lifelong learning you should consider. These include the five following areas:
- Personalized learning
- Mobile learning
- Social learning
Use these pillars to help boost your learners’ participation rate in your programs and keep them at the top of their fields.
1. Personalized Learning
Clearly one of the major shifts in continuing education and professional development in the past few decades is the growing use of online learning. Even more, personalization has become a key pillar of online learning, which serves to further engage your learners and keep them motivated.
A learning management system (LMS) can add a personalized touch to a learner’s experience, allowing you to do the following:
- Recommend courses to your learners based on their history in the LMS. Use a learner’s past history, purchases, interests, and more to recommend new courses they can take.
- Personalize assessments. Personalize the assessments your learners take and adjust the questions they’re given depending on their performance.
- Offer feedback. Provide customized exam feedback so that learners know exactly where they’re excelling and can identify areas where they can improve.
If the number of learners you serve is growing and you need up-to-date technology to implement your organization’s learning strategy, this is a sign you may need a new or replacement LMS. Offer your learners the continuing education they need to stay at the top of their field, while providing them with personalized learning experiences.
Integrations are not always a focus when organizations implement e-learning solutions, but they are essential to successfully incorporating an LMS into your learning strategy. In fact, all your systems should communicate easily, including your association management system (AMS), customer relationship management (CRM) system, event management system, community platform, and any other third-party systems.
The most important integration is arguably the one that occurs with your customer or member database. Your LMS platform should integrate with the customer database software that you use. With an integrated learning experience, you can do many things:
- Easily manage your learners’ continuing education credits and records.
- based on your organization’s unique needs.
- Allow your learners to display their completed certifications on their profiles in a CRM or AMS.
When you offer an e-learning experience, your LMS platform should be branded to your organization, leaving no indication to learners that they have left your Web site to use a third-party learning system. (If you have an AMS, check out ReviewMyLMS’s AMS-LMS integration primer.)
Integrations shouldn’t be overlooked when considering the LMS system you want to invest in. If your organization is part of a highly specialized industry, it’s essential that you invest in an e-learning system that will help you manage and customize the platform to your needs. If you need some help with your search for an LMS, check out ReviewMyLMS for real reviews from real users.
3. Mobile Learning
Everyone is on their mobile device these days, and being able to perform activities on the go is the new normal. To ensure your educational programs remain relevant to your learners and are easily accessible, your LMS should be mobile-responsive.
This means that your LMS and the content it contains are responsive to fit any device’s screen size, such as desktops, tablets, and mobile phone screens.
When your LMS is mobile-responsive, this means your learners can learn on the go:
- Access your courses anywhere.
- View videos and other interactive features easily on their screens without the frustration of zooming in or out.
- Complete more courses due to the ease and accessibility of the LMS.
Being able to complete educational programs on demand is a huge motivator for learners. This will help them enhance their skills and learn more about recent developments in their field, all from the convenience of a device they use regularly. Follow the trend of mobile learning, and boost engagement among your learners.
4. Social Learning
A huge part of improving the learner’s experience is the learning community associated with it. When your LMS includes social learning tools that enable communication, collaboration, and interaction between learners, you’ll boost learner engagement and see more courses through to completion.
Social learning can include many types of activities:
- Discussion forums
- Facilitated live chats
- Peer-to-peer feedback
- Shared news and upcoming events
Essentially, it’s important to give your learners a space to share their knowledge and discuss best practices. Your learners can learn from each other and will engage more with your LMS as a direct result of these interactions. This also helps them retain the material that is covered in the courses themselves.
Collaborative learning is an excellent way to design smarter learning experiences that will boost your results and increase the level of engagement your learners have with your educational program.
In the same vein as social learning, gamification tools are a great technique for organizations seeking to increase learner engagement. As a newer trend in social learning, gamification involves elements of games within education programs, such as digital badges and leaderboards.
Gamification encourages and motivates learners to participate in continuing education programs. It also enhances the modern lifelong learning experience by making it more fun and interactive. With gamification tools, you can:
- Easily add more interactive elements to your LMS.
- Build and play learning games directly in the LMS.
- Create interactive drag-and-drop experiences.
Choose an LMS that offers gamification tools to further engage your learners as they participate in educational opportunities. When you create an environment that offers fun and engaging elements, you’ll ensure that your learners absorb the information they learn and keep them invested in their own progress.
The Bottom Line
If the number of learners you serve has grown substantially and you can no longer distribute educational content and manage the learning on your own, it may be time to invest in an e-learning solution that facilitates all these approaches. Help your instructors administer and grade assessments in a timely manner and boost attendance by offering online learning opportunities rather than just in-person events.
In addition to the benefits you can get with a learning management system, you can also bring in non-dues revenue by offering virtual courses.
If your learning business happens is an association, check out Web Courseworks’ list of top software for associations for more tools you can take advantage of. But whatever your learning business, good luck in finding the right technology to support you in the important work of providing modern lifelong learning!
About the Author
Amber Winter is the vice president of sales and service at Web Courseworks, where she is committed to helping learning business leaders realize the potential of their education programs and turn them into high-performing revenue-generators. Amber was named one of In Business Greater Madison’s 2018 “40 Under 40” and the No. 1 LMS Salesperson by Talented Learning.