In 2009, Tagoras published Association E-learning: State of the Sector, the first report offering data about how trade and professional associations were using computers to deliver education to their audiences.
Roll forward a decade and the report is now called Association Learning + Technology, but it still offers the most comprehensive information about how learning technology trends in the association sector.
In this episode of the Leading Learning podcast, Celisa and Jeff talk about some of the findings in the latest version of the report and how the data has changed over the years. They also discuss why Tagoras publishes the report and how organizations can use it to support their learning and technology efforts.
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Read the Show Notes
[00:18] – A preview of what will be covered in this podcast where Celisa and Jeff discuss the 2017 Association Learning + Technology report
[00:39] – Thank you to YourMembership, the podcast sponsor for the third quarter of 2017. YourMembership’s learning management system is specifically designed for professional education with a highly flexible and intuitive system that customizes the learning experience. YourMembership’s LMS seamlessly integrates with key systems to manage all of your educational content formats in one central location while providing powerful tools to create and deliver assessments, evaluations, and learning communities.
[01:14] – Highlighted Resource of the Week – For our resource for this episode, we want, appropriately enough, highlight our Association Learning + Technology report. The report is based on a survey of a broad range of trade and professional associations, Association Learning + Technology and it provides the most comprehensive insights currently available on the use of technology to enhance and enable education in the association sector. You can access it for free by going to www.tagoras.com/learntech. If you are listening to this episode before September 15, 2017 grab it and you will automatically be sent the next edition; after September 15, 2017, we will link to the current version.
[01:59] – Discussion of history of report and reasons for publishing it
[05:10] – Discussion of changes to the report over the years, including the overall context for the report. The market for e-learning as well adult continuing education and professional development has changed significantly since 2009. Reference to Ambient Insight Research report on the decline in e-learning revenue globally. Sites mentioned:
[11:22] – Discussion of how the data for key points has changed over the years.
Use of e-learning/tech for learning
Main headline: Significant growth from 2009 to 2017—tech for learning is mainstream; not a whether to do it, but how best to do it
- 2009 report: 61.1 percent (of 488 responses) indicated their organizations are currently using e-learning (“E-learning, also known as computer-based training or online distance education, refers to computer-enabled learning carried out by individuals or groups outside of a physical classroom, either over the Internet or an internal network. There are many methods of e-learning such as Webcasts, self-paced tutorials, podcasts, facilitated discussions, etc., but for the purpose of this survey, any activity in which a user receives instruction via a computer counts as e-learning. Does your organization currently use e-learning to deliver education?”
- 2017 report: 92.6 percent (203 responses); question text modified in 2014 (“There are many ways to use technology to deliver learning or to enhance learning, such as Webcasts and Webinars, self-paced tutorials, virtual conferences, blended classroom/online education, etc. For the purpose of this survey, any activity in which a user receives primary or supplementary instruction via a computer counts as technology-enabled or technology-enhanced learning. Does your organization currently offer technology-enabled or technology-enhanced learning?
LMS and LCMS usage
Main headline: Significant growth from 2009 to 2017 in LMS; has evolved to be a standard software.
- 2009 report: 34.4 percent of those offering e-learning (of 259 responses) indicated their organization uses an LMS or LCMS (“Does your organization currently use [or plan to use] a learning management system (LMS) or learning content management system (LCMS) for delivery and/or tracking of e-learning?”)
- 2017 report: 66.9 percent (173 responses) for LMS and 17.0 percent for LCMS; ; question text modified in 2014 (“Does your organization use a technology platform dedicated to delivering or enhancing learning?” with a range for choices, including, separately LMS and LCMS); so pretty significant growth
LMS/Platform-related Resource: The Tagoras Platform Directory for Learning Businesses
Webinar/Webcast platform usage
Main headline: Use of a Webinar platform has become essential; at saturation point
- 2014 report: started asking as yes/no question as part of list of platform types; 84.4 percent of respondents indicated they use a Webinar platform (150 responses)
- 2017 report: 91.8 percent (173 responses)
Community platform usage
Main headline: private online community platform growth seems to be accelerating; if follows similar uptick in adoption as to what we saw with LMSes, then in the next decade or so it should reach – and likely pass – the 70 percent mark.
- 2009 report: “private social networking site (only approved users can join)” listed among social media tools; 16.1 percent (248 responses)
- 2017 report: changed term to “private online community platform”; 37.4 percent (173 responses)
Community-related ResourceSocial Learning Trends in the Association Space:
Prevalence of offerings
Main headline: Webinars have steadily grown to the point of being a ubiquitous offering; jump in blended
- 2009 report: real-time Webcasts or Webinars = 67.1 percent and recorded or on-demand Webcasts or Webinars = 56.0 percent; self-paced online courses, tutorials, or presentations (excluding recorded Webcasts or Webinars) = 54.5 percent; facilitated online courses (excluding Webcasts or Webinars) = 19.0 percent; e-learning programs combined with classroom-based learning (blended learning) = 15.5 percent; 277 responses
- 2014 report: real-time Webinars = 82.3 (essentially the same); recorded = 84.2 (up notably); self-paced = 65.5 (up decently); facilitated = 36.0 (up decently); blended = 31.4 (up notably; also question phrased a bit differently to remove mention of e-learning, now “Blended learning (e.g., technology-based programs combined with classroom-based learning)”); 154 responses
- 2017 report: real-time Webinars = 90.0 (up); recorded = 91.4 (up); self-paced = 72.8 (up); facilitated = 33.9 (up a small amount); blended = 38.9 (up a bit); 185 responses
Strategy for e-learning
Main headline – relatively flat on e-learning strategy over the years – averaging not much more than 20 percent of respondents. Better on general learning strategy, based on recent question – 37.7 percent – but still quite low given the importance of this function.
- 2014 report: 23.4, so about the same; 141 responses; question text changed to remove reference to e-learning: “Does your organization have a formal, documented strategy for how technology will be used to enable or enhance learning?”
- 2017 report: 23.0, so up a bit; 161 responses; also added question about more general learning strategy that we asked of all respondents: “Does your organization have a formal, documented strategy for its learning and education business? (175 responses)” 37.7 precent
[24:40] – Emerging formats
Main headline – during the time we have been asking about emerging formats – since 2014 – the numbers have gone up, but are still quite low – below 15% adoption – for everything except microlearning – which has shot from 18%, when first asked in 2016, to 30.1 percent in the new version of the report.
In 2009 and 2011 didn’t ask about emerging formats like microlearning, etc.; in 2014, added “Which of the following does your association provide or plan to provide?” and answer options were first four below:
- MOOCs: 2014, 6.6; 2016, 6.4 (about the same); 2017, 6.7 (about the same)
- Flipped classes: 2014, 5.3; 2016, 14.4 (up); 2017, 13.3 (about the same)
- Gamified learning: 2014, 4.0; 2016, 9.5 (up); 2017, 9.9 (about the same)
- Digital badges or microcredentials: 2014, 9.3; 2016, 9.8 (about the same); 2017, 14.8 (up)
- Microlearning [added as 5th choice in 2016]: [no 2014 data]; 2016, 18.1 (well above the others—only flipped is close); 2017, 30.1 (way up)
MOOC Resource: Leveraging MOOCs for Professional Development and Continuing Education
Flipped Classroom Resource: Leveraging the Flipped Classroom for Professional Development and Continuing Education
Microcredentialing Resource: Rolling Out Digital Credentials with Stephanie Owen of NWFA
Microlearning Resource: Leveraging Microlearning for Professional Development and Continuing Education
[27:40] – Mobile – In 2009, we didn’t ask about mobile; added this question “Do you provide a mobile version (i.e., a version specially formatted to be easily viewed and navigated on a mobile phone or tablet device) for some or all of your learning content? ” in 2011, when yes was only 8.9; 2014, 36.8 (up significantly); 2016, 41.0 (up a bit more); 2017, 49.7 (up a bit more)
Mobile Resource: Mobile Learning and Associations
[29:54] – Chief Learning Officer – Added question about CLO in 2016. We added a question to find out if someone in the organization holds the title of chief learning officer (CLO) or a similar C-level title that references learning, education, or knowledge. The CLO question strikes us as a good barometer for the amount of respect and emphasis given to learning in the organization. 2016, 42.2 yes; 2017, 33.3
[30:50] – In 2016, for the first time, we asked organizations currently using technology for learning if they use it to repeat, reinforce, or sustain learning after participants complete an educational product or service. 2016, 31.5 said yes; 2017, 33.7 (so about the same)
[32:08] – In 2016, we also added data questions. We asked if organizations integrate (whether manually or through automation) the data they collect in their learning technology platforms with the data from other technology platforms they use, such as a membership management database or association management system (2016, yes = 49.3; 2017, yes = 47.1). The other new question about data asked how frequently organizations use the data they collect in their learning technology platforms to make decisions about the current and future educational products and services they offer (2106, always = 18.7 and frequently = 29.1; 2107, always = 14.9 and frequently = 30.4).
[36:20] – How organizations do/can use the report:
Business case –
- Many organizations have reported to us that they have used the data to make a business case for adding or growing their technology-based learning initiatives
- An aspect of the business case: size doesn’t matter. The report makes it clear that organizations of all sizes are leveraging technology, so size can’t really be used as an excuse
- As an aspect of business case, but also be useful on its own. The reports give organizations the data they need to see where they stand, particularly relative to similar organizations. Note of caution: don’t be a copy cat. The report can help with operational best practices, but our view is that there are no best practices when it comes to strategy – strategy, almost by definition, needs to differentiate.
- Provides insight into what organizations that characterize themselves a successful seem to be doing. So, for example, in the latest version of the report organizations that self-identify as very successful in their efforts with learning and technology are significantly more likely to:
- Report increased net revenue from their education offerings as a result of their use of technology for learning (76.7 versus 48.1 percent).
- Offer self-paced online courses (93.3 versus 72.8 percent) and facilitated online courses (53.3 versus 33.9 percent).
- Offer at least some mobile learning (66.7 versus 49.7 percent).
- Make use of professional instructional designers (76.7 versus 59.2 percent).
- Integrate data they collect in the technology platforms for learning with data from other technology platforms they use (63.3 versus 47.1 percent)
- Always or frequently use the data they collect in their learning technology platform to make decisions about current and future educational products and services (66.7 versus 45.3).
- Have a formal, documented strategy for their learning and education business (60.0 versus 37.7 percent) and a strategy for how technology will be used to enable or enhance learning (37.9 versus 23.0 percent).
- Have a product development process (53.3 versus 30.2 percent) and a process for setting prices (40.0 versus 23.3 percent) that include their technology-enabled and technology-enhanced education products.
[45:00] – Wrap Up
Thanks again to YourMembership for sponsoring this episode of the Leading Learning podcast.
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[46:50] – Sign off
Great episode Celisa and Jeff.
One of the things I struggle with routinely is the (hugely important) difference between what associations do and what they are successful at (and how they measure success). I often will see associations with measured goals about an educational venture, reporting both that they’ve done the venture (increasing the percentage of associations doing that thing and often encouraging others to follow the pack) and that it was successful (by their own measures – often note disclosed ‘above the fold’), When you drill into the detail, what I’d define as meaningful member impact and non-dues revenue wasn’t there.
I don’t know what the answer is here, but it seems like the larger community needs to unify around some broad standards around success metrics. Obviously, that’s nigh impossible at a course/event level, but it seems plausible at an ‘education business’ level. Off the top of my head, ‘member impact’ (the breadth and depth of) and ‘non-dues revenue’ seem like potentially reasonable standards at the business level.
Also, FYI, if you didn’t hear it, great story on All Things Considered on how tech is going to impact Radiology. See https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/09/04/547882005/scanning-the-future-radiologists-see-their-jobs-at-risk . Worth the 4 minutes. Very practical illustration of how professional association members are being impacted by technology. It’s a good brainstorm starter on the issue of how we, in the association education business space, fit into that issue of how ‘tech disruption’ will impact our members.
Jack – Thanks for listening and for commenting. I agree it would be very useful to have some more buttoned-up data. Part of the issue is what the measurements would need to be. The other part, of course, is how to collect it in a valid way – particularly without it requiring a huge amount of time, effort, and money. Something you have now inspired me to put some thought into – and I’d welcome your further thoughts as you have them. Will definitely check out the NPR piece.