The starting point for great learning content is a strong content strategy.
Read on for tips on how to build a content strategy that engages learners and meets your continuing education program’s objectives.
Your association’s continuing education program is a top benefit for members. It can also drive much-needed non-dues revenue for your organization.
Offering valuable online learning content for your members is one of the most important factors in a successful continuing education program. And the starting point for great learning content is a strong content strategy.
What is a learning content strategy?
A high-quality learning content strategy spells out learning objectives and develops content in a range of formats to meet those objectives. It also includes ways to develop content consistently and efficiently to deliver an excellent learning experience.
Four components of a strong learning content strategy
The best way to ensure your association can continuously develop high-quality content is to have a solid strategy in place. Let’s look at four components of a strong learning content strategy
1. Learning objectives
The first component of a strong learning content strategy is learning objectives. These objectives answer the “why’s” and “what’s” of your learning content: Why is your audience coming to your learning portal? What are they seeking to learn and achieve? Why are you creating the content in the first place? Answer these questions, and then take inventory of your content assets to gain insights into your content and begin to identify any content gaps. For example:
- What content is most popular? (hint: look at number of enrollments)
- Why is the content popular? (hint: review survey responses)
- In what formats are the assets provided (for example: live video, recorded webinars, PDF files, etc.)
As part of this exercise, consider your organization’s overall goals for your learning program. For example, are you trying to increase the number of learners? Or maybe you aim to encourage current learners to take more courses? Perhaps you seek to increase certification rates?
These steps will help you to identify your association’s and learners’ needs so that you can establish a baseline for your learning content development.
2. Varied formats
Offering a range of learning modes allows your members to view content based on their schedules, preferences, and technology comfort levels. For example, offer webinars, webcasts, and on-demand learning courses. Also, include interactive elements, such as Q&A, group chat, surveys, real-time polling, checkpoints, and quizzes to keep learners engaged with your learning content.
3. Industry expertise
To develop high-quality content, it’s vital to have a content team that understands your industry. Make sure your team is knowledgeable about how to identify the right topics, subject matter experts, and speakers to develop content that meets your learners’ needs. A couple of tips for your content team:
Think about topics that will appeal to your members, such as those that are:
- Aimed at specific audiences, such as material for a recent graduate who is trying to land a job
- Most popular, based on attendance and ratings from past events
- Hot, timely topics in your industry
- Popular in your online community
To find subject matter experts and speakers, look within your organization and your networks. Also, ask highly-rated speakers from your association’s past conferences to help build and present content for your learning program. And be on the lookout for well-regarded experts in your industry who are publishing their own content through webinars and podcasts; see if they would be willing to contribute to your learning program.
Creating and delivering valuable learning content takes time and effort. Make sure you have the right tools and processes in place to work as efficiently as possible. The right learning management system (LMS) can help you organize content and deliver a modern online continuing education experience with less hassle and better results.
Here are some things to look for in an LMS:
- Flexibility – Flexibility in a platform is crucial. For example, you might not start out doing both live online and on-demand events right away, so it’s important to have a system that has the flexibility in content delivery functionality to grow with you. Using an LMS that supports both live online and on-demand learning can save money, create more efficiencies for your team, and make life easier for your learners.
- Scalability – Scalability is another essential aspect of an LMS. With a scalable solution, you can start small and grow easily over time. For example, look for a system that allows you to repackage, reorganize, and repurpose learning content so that your staff can continue to work efficiently even as your continuing education program grows.
- Integration capabilities – You may have systems, like your association management software (AMS), that you want to integrate with your LMS. Look for an LMS that has integration capabilities, and ask the vendor about end-user flow, cost of integration, and time investment from your team. Keep in mind that having points of integration, such as single sign-on, order integration, and credit integration, can make life easier for your learners and your team
Discover more tips and insights on how to develop great content for your continuing-education program with panel of CLE experts for part one of the CLE Expert Webinar Series: Creating High Quality Content on October 27 at 12PM EST.