Is your association looking for strategies to grow your professional development program? Now more than ever, members are turning to their professional associations for continuing education, certifications, and career advancement resources. It’s up to your organization to deliver diverse content that’s relevant and engaging, ensuring members return to your program year after year.

To hit your professional development goals and support your members’ careers, your association must invest in its continuing education program. Keep reading to discover helpful strategies to elevate your entire professional development program.

Why should associations invest in professional development? 

Put simply: your association should invest in its professional development program because your members want continuing education opportunities. The latest Community Brands Association Trends Research found that members choose their employer or professional association for continuing education opportunities. Among those top sources, more members rate the quality of professional development from their association as “excellent” than those of their employer (50% versus 38%). 

Additionally, members are relying more on their professional association for continuing education, and the perceived value in sources like LinkedIn and Google is declining. This finding suggests an opportunity to attract more members who are dissatisfied with generic sources of professional development by delivering excellent and specific continuing education experiences.

5 ways an LMS helps you hit your professional development goals 

Community Brands research found that association members and professionals agree: to be a go-to source for professional development, associations must innovate. Exceed your member’s needs and your professional development goals with the right learning management system (LMS).

Here are five ways to leverage an LMS to enhance your professional development program:  

1. Training opportunities

51% of association members report training opportunities as a top membership benefit. With the right LMS, you can offer flexible and accessible learning options for your members. An LMS makes it easy to offer live webinars, rebroadcasted events, and on-demand content, ensuring more members engage with your professional development program.

With higher member engagement in your learning program, you’re more likely to retain your members year over year. By making learning flexible, you can also reach non-members, boosting recruitment and driving non-dues revenue.

2. Certification programs

Many organizations offer certification and licensing programs within their association as an added benefit to members, offering a level of prestige within an industry. Another 51% of members state certifications and credentials are a top priority.

By investing in certifications and credentialling programs, your association can develop the highest level of standards for an industry, while shaping best practices and policies for future generations. Leverage your LMS to streamline your professional development program, track credits, and issue certifications and credentials.

3. Networking

One of the most common areas associations can grow professional development offerings is through networking opportunities. Investing in networking promotes peer-to-peer learning and relationship building throughout a member’s career.

Professional associations are filled with many prospects, customers, clients, and partners to encourage strategic growth and industry leadership. Leverage your LMS to ensure networking occurs during in-person and virtual events. With the right LMS, you can use interactive tools and features to promote conversation, discussion with learning experts, and question and answer sessions with speakers.  

4. Innovative and valuable content

If you’re like other associations, your industry is experiencing fast paced technological advancements, ultimately driving your strategic choices. In the face of constant change, it’s wise to consider a strategy to effectively reach your members with the latest industry insights.

By offering valuable learning content, your professional development program can quickly become a go-to destination within your industry. To attract non-members within your industry, consider leveraging your LMS to create on-demand courses covering hot topics. You can also use your LMS to offer just-in-case and just-in-time courses, offering a variety of content offerings to reach your current members.   

5. Industry information and resources

Membership in any professional association means direct access to up-to-date news and development that impacts one’s field or industry. Often, associations will send out newsletters to keep members updated on the latest developments, along with relevant resources, and hot topic courses.

Look for an LMS that integrates with your association management software (AMS) to help you sync your program data and provide the most valuable resources to your members. With an LMS + AMS integration, you can further personalize your membership experience, ensuring your members get the information they want based on their past behavior, including event attendance, course completion, conference registration, and more.  


How Freestone LMS can grow your professional development program 

Freestone is a learning management system that was designed for the specific needs of associations to deliver high volumes of live and prerecorded educational content. Whether an organization is leveraging webinars, webcasts, or on-demand courses, Freestone provides an intuitive, user-friendly experience that makes it easy to both present and participate in events.

Featuring a variety of interactive tools that help online courses meet live learning requirements, this customizable solution not only makes a powerful LMS first impression, but also provides a seamless administrative experience for organizations seeking to build content offerings and identifying potential revenue opportunities. 

Learn more

Discover how Freestone LMS helps you hit your professional development goals and grow your program. Connect with our Freestone team today!