As we begin a new year, it is the perfect time for strategizing to grow and improve your education business – and we have a variety of free tools and resources we’ve developed over the years to help you with this sometimes daunting process.
In this episode of the Leading Learning podcast, Celisa and Jeff highlight a range of resources they have available (and did we mention they are free?) to help you organize your thinking and make informed decisions to help your education business prosper in 2017 and in years to come.
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[00:20] "]– Thank you to YourMembership, sponsor of the Leading Learning podcast for the first quarter of 2017. YourMembership’s award-winning learning management system, CrowdWisdom, provides organizations with the means to manage all of their educational content formats in one central location, and also provides tools to create and deliver assessments, evaluations and learning communities.
[01:02] – A preview of what will be covered in this podcast where Celisa and Jeff highlight a range of free resources they have available to help grow and improve your education business in 2017. You can also grab a PDF with all of the resources mentioned in this episode – and more!
[02:43] – Tools, Models, Frameworks – visuals and processes that help to focus and organize your thinking:
- The Learning Business Maturity Model
The Tagoras Learning Business Maturity ModelTM provides a framework for assessing the maturity of your learning and education business across five domains and to determine where to focus your efforts going forward. The domains are leadership, strategy, capacity, portfolio, and marketing and those span across four stages:
- Stage 1: Static
- Stage 2: Reactive
- Stage 3: Proactive
- Stage 4: Innovative
Note that this also has an assessment to go with it to help find out where you rate across those domains and how it places you across those stages, a great place to start at the beginning of the year. We also discussed the Learning Business Maturity Model more fully in a previous podcast episode.
- The Value Ramp
The Value Ramp is a simple yet amazingly powerful tool when it comes to developing and assessing your product strategy. The idea behind it is that there is a correlation between price and value—as you provide more value in your portfolio, you should be able to charge more, and as you charge more you should be providing more value. Jeff explains how to use the Value Ramp and how to connect it to product strategy. The idea of momentum is also emphasized when trying to increase both value and price.
- The Market Insight Matrix
The Market Insight Matrix is a tool/process for helping you better understand and assess your market for continuing education and professional development. It is something you need to put in place and then engage with over time.
3 Stages of Market Assessment
- Idea generation – diverse input to come up with ideas for products, audience
- Idea verification – doing the footwork to help verify that that you really are onto something before proceeding into creating
- Idea testing – putting a pilot or minimum viable product out into the market
3 Types of Market Assessment Activities – to engage in within each stage
- Tracking – focuses primarily on historical, quantitative data. What can you tell—based on a variety of tools like Google Analytics, Google Trends, and data from your e-commerce and learning management systems—about the behavior of your members and customers in the recent past? What content has been of interest? Where have they found it?
- Listening – focuses on observing what your members and customers are saying and doing. What are they saying as they interact with each other, your organization and its offerings, even your competitors and their offerings? You can find out by monitoring social media, conducting user testing, or mining evaluations.
- Asking – involves you engaging directly with stakeholders and requesting their input on specific questions. This is the path of traditional tools like surveys and focus groups but also includes activities like pre-selling and crowdfunding.
[14:04] – Celisa adds that the Market Insight Matrix can help organizations make sure they engage in each stage rather than focusing on one. It is also emphasized that all three of the tools mentioned (Learning Business Maturity Model, Value Ramp, and Market Insight Matrix) lend themselves well to being revisited periodically. They help to keep your thoughts organized and are very powerful tools to engage with in the beginning of the year.
[15:25] – Reports – we currently have three major reports, all based on surveys of associations:
- Association Learning + Technology – provides the most comprehensive insights currently available on the use of technology to enhance and enable education and learning among associations. It is a helpful resource for leaders who want to be fully informed as they make strategic decisions about launching or growing new education initiatives. Data about levels of technology use are shared as well as information about five emerging types of learning: massive open online courses (MOOCs), flipped classes, gamified learning, microcredentials (like digital badges), and microlearning.
- Social Learning Trends in the Association Space – A look at how associations are using social technologies as part of their learning initiatives. Data from the report is shared and it is noted that the survey looked at both formal and informal learning experiences. The report also highlights some brief case studies.
- Association Virtual Events — Looks at how associations are making use of virtual events – not just a single one-off Webinar or Webcast, rather about offerings that really try to replicate what might happen at a place based conference/event. These might be an extension of a place-based event or a stand-alone event. It is noted that there has been incremental growth of associations’ use of virtual events. This report can help you determine the timing and pricing for your virtual events, the level of registration and attendance to expect, the tools most commonly used to deliver virtual events, and how to avoid the mistakes and benefit from the success of other organizations. It is noted that we will be holding Learning • Technology • Design as a virtual event March 1-3, 2017.
[23:20] – Technology Selection – resources aimed at helping organizations identify the right platform and technology partners to work with. Jeff shares that he and Celisa had prior experience in helping organizations select learning management systems because they started and grew an online learning company focused on associations—and a learning management system was one of their core products. Over the years, they have developed a wide range of resources for organizations to use as they select learning technologies. Resources include:
- A list of vendors who have a good track record working with trade and professional associations
- Interviews with vendors
- Discussion guide to help identify the right questions to be asking
- Articles on a range of issues that organizations should keep in mind when selecting platforms
[25:55] – Ongoing Resources
- Leading Learning e-Newsletter (free)
- Leading Learning Webinars (free)
- Leading Learning Events: Leading Learning Symposium and Learning • Technology • Design (a virtual event to be held March 1-3, 2017)
- Leading Learning Podcast (free)
[32:47] – Wrap Up
Thanks again to YourMembership for sponsoring of this episode of the Leading Learning podcast.
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[34:57]- Sign off