Powering the New World of Digital Learning

Posted by Sue Pine, CAE on Nov 27, 2018 2:39:53 PM

When the title of the meeting is Learnapalooza, you attend the program with anticipation of gaining insight to changes in expectations of how association members want to gather information and learn new material. The two-day program didn’t disappoint. Topics ranged from understanding the changing landscape of today’s learners to dynamic evolution of digitally marketing your educational programs.

Ashish Rangnekar, CEO of BenchPrep delivered a session titled, “Powering the New World of Digital Learning.”  Here are just a few nuggets from his dynamic presentation loaded with facts, figures, and ideas.

the library in the e-book concept with text pages flying out of a e-reader

For associations to be successful, the organizations must anticipate and embrace the “change” in learners’ expectations. (This comment early on the first day sure sounded like the practice of foresight to me!)

  • In a world where consumers are always connected, there is a huge shift to move from traditional classroom settings to adding digital to their training services.
  • Lifelong learning has become an economic imperative based on the following macro trends:
    • $26K -Annual average increase in earnings from a non-degree professional certification (Source: bureau of labor statistics)
    • “15”– Average number of jobs held by millennials during their career
  • Millennials indicate training and development as the #1 job benefit ahead of flexible schedules and pay increase
  1. Micro-trends – Modern learners are very different and can often be characterized as both overwhelmed and distracted.
  2. The smartphone has now emerged as the #1 screen with statistics indicating an average of 151 minutes/day.
  3. The spend on online learning has surpassed dollars previously spent for offline options.

Ashish offered this clear “5 Step Framework for a Learning Transformation”

#1 - Top Down Learner Centric Vision – become insanely focused on the learner

  • Focus on how you engage customers on the “learner experience.”

#2 – Digital is a must for today’s learners

  • Need an extreme level of personalization and customer engagement!
  • Enable bundling of your traditional products with online programs and allow this to occur within a single transaction.

#3 – Let Data be Your Guide

  • It is getting easier to gather and build your data engine.
  • Start with your hypothesis and validate the direction with data.

#4 – Focus on End-to-End Transformation

  • Business processes harmonization – make sure the processes are simple before you attempt to automate/digitize.

#5 – Use Best Practices from Adjacent Industries

  • Share ideas with other organizations. (This was another example of the importance of environmental scanning. Practice foresight to be aware of what is happening around you and thinking about the impact to your organization.)
  • Encourage recurring revenue relationship:
    • Subscriptions
    • Bundles for CE programs

This session alone, clearly outlined the need for association staff to collaborate with volunteer leaders to discuss these ideas. Associations should be challenged to STOP delivering their valuable content in only the same traditional manner that they have delivered their conference and webinars in the past.

The session highlighted the ASAE ForesightWorks “Higher Education 3.0” Driver of Change that is summarized as follows: “Traditional educational models are under tremendous pressure as changes in work, technology, and student expectations demand both new curricula and new modes of instruction. Higher education is facing new threats of disintermediation by online education and alternative credentialing systems. While the knowledge economy places a premium on analysis and thinking, it is also creating new alternatives to the university that threaten to transform how students receive post-secondary instruction.”

Association learning teams have a huge opportunity to step up their game and benefit from this shift in learners’ expectations. Association leaders may want to convene their learning and conference program teams to discuss the impact of some of these shifts to their association’s educational offerings.

Topics: Foresight