The last decade has seen a profound increase in the demand for online learning resources. According to the latest Community Brands Association Trends Study, association professionals are investing more in learning management systems. 27% of association professionals plan to increase spending on learning management system (LMS) tools.

The Community Brands Study also found that association members are seeking more continuing education opportunities. 47% of members identified certifications and credentials as a top membership benefit.

Now more than ever, to engage your learners and attract new members, it’s vital for your continuing education (CE) program to deliver a mix of live and on-demand programming. Every successful professional development strategy needs to begin by implementing the right LMS.

How to make a good LMS first impression 

When an organization launches a CE program with an LMS, learners must feel like they can be successful using the platform. Ensure that prospective learners can intuitively navigate the interface and find the resources they’re looking for, otherwise, they may look elsewhere for professional development. Continuing education can be a huge member benefit, so it’s wise to invest in a flexible LMS that meets the needs of your learners. 

Making a good LMS first impression increases the likelihood that learners will keep coming back for additional professional development and guidance.  There’s often only one chance to make that first impression. Consider leveraging an LMS that meets your learners’ needs and focuses on the core features necessary to deliver an outstanding learning experience.

6 essential features for your first LMS 

When selecting an LMS, it’s important to ensure the platform capabilities match your learning needs and offer flexible content delivery. For example, a small professional association could make a huge investment in a robust learning system that provides extensive course creation tools and testing capabilities, but if it doesn’t have the instructional design resources to build out those offerings, those features will likely go unused. Similarly, if learners are primarily looking for webinar and webcast resources, asking them to navigate a complex LMS interface to find that content may create a frustrating user experience.

Here are a few key features to look for in a first LMS platform: 

  1. Video streaming and hosting
    Today’s learners turn to video content for their professional development. This is especially true of association members looking to meet their CE requirements. The ability to organize and deliver both live and on-demand webinars and webcasts through a streamlined, browser-based interface should be a baseline feature for any LMS platform.
  2. Interactive learning tools
    Most CE guidelines stipulate that a certain portion of coursework must be interactive or in-person. Fortunately, video-based courses can usually satisfy these requirements if they feature live, interactive elements like Q&A, chats, surveys, real-time polling, or checkpoints. This allows rebroadcasted events and on-demand content to qualify for CE credits. An LMS system that provides these engagement tools makes it easy for organizations to deliver a variety of professional development content.

  3. Customization
    Just because an organization is implementing its first LMS doesn’t mean it should have to sacrifice flexibility. Customization features that allow an organization to incorporate distinctive branding, promote sponsorships, and adjust the user interface to achieve the right look and feel are essential for creating a cohesive learning experience.
  4. Credit tracking
    Learners want the ability to easily track their course credits so they can easily satisfy their continuing education requirements. An LMS platform that allows them to quickly submit for credit and receive custom certificates for their records is much more appealing than one that forces them to go through a complex submission process to receive credit.
  5. AMS/CRM integration
    An LMS platform that integrates with leading AMS and CRM solutions makes it much easier for organizations to manage customer and member data. In addition to tracking engagement over time, they can also use that data to build comprehensive learner profiles for future marketing and course content strategies.
  6. Content administration
    Creating content that learners want to engage with is only part of the challenge facing organizations. If they don’t have LMS tools in place to easily manage that content and repurpose it effectively, they could be missing out on significant opportunities to engage learners year-round. 

Go beyond LMS first impressions 

The ultimate goal of implementing an LMS is to attract more learners and boost learner retention. Your LMS first impression plays a huge role in this, so it’s vital to look for software that supports your learner’s needs. Search for an LMS that offers live and on-demand content, interactive learning tools, customization features, credit tracking, integration options, and content creation services.  

Freestone LMS is designed for the specific needs of associations, and empowers your staff to deliver high volumes of live and on-demand 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 identify potential revenue opportunities. 

To learn more about how Freestone delivers a powerful learning experience that meets the needs of both presenters and participants, contact us today for a guided demo of the platform. 

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