Continuing education (CE) initiatives promote the power of lifelong learning. With CE, you can encourage personal growth for your employees while increasing value for your organization—a win-win for everyone.
In 2020, we’re facing new challenges in all aspects of the workplace, and continuing education programs are no different. Now is a perfect time to iterate on your training initiatives so that they can be as successful as possible.
At Web Courseworks, we provide LMS solutions for association member and channel partner training. While we don’t offer internal, employee training solutions, we’ve discovered a few universal signs that it’s time to integrate technology in CE programs.
Ahead, we’ll explore a few key signs your continuing education program may need an upgrade:
- Inability to meet in person;
- Low employee participation;
- Outdated course offerings;
- Issues tracking progress and gathering data; and
- Problems with certification.
Continuing education is meant to ensure your employees stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and best practices. With the right tech, you’ll be equipped with the tools you need to fix these CE problems and ensure your content is effective, current, and constantly improving. Let’s dive in!
1. Inability to meet in person
The recent shift of most activities from physical to virtual has created a new frontier of remote work. It’s important to ensure that all of your company’s programs make this transition smoothly—has your continuing education program made the jump?
You’ve already handled pressing needs like shifting your day-to-day operations online and adjusting upcoming plans. In the association realm, we’ve seen many organizations start with top-priority initiatives like pivoting association events to virtual platforms (learn how here). That said, you shouldn’t ignore efforts like CE. Continuing education may not be as urgent, but it is still critical.
If the inability to offer training sessions in person has stopped your CE program in its tracks, it’s time to invest in a technology-based solution that will ensure access and flexibility for all of your employees.
Some say that a remote environment is the future of work. By doubling down on innovating your continuing education program now, you’ll be well equipped for whatever tomorrow’s workplace looks like.
2. Low employee participation
If your employees aren’t actively taking advantage of your CE opportunities, that’s a red flag.
Low participation could be an indicator that your current continuing education program is not providing enough value to be seen as worthwhile to employees. Or the content may be valuable, but the delivery falls short when it comes to engagement and interactivity.
We’ve found that digital platforms like learning management systems (LMSs) offer a variety of features to boost professional association member engagement, and that holds true for employee engagement as well. These features include:
- Live learning;
- Social learning;
- Interactive drag-and-drop content; and
- Dynamic quizzes.
An LMS can even personalize the learning experience for each individual employee, providing interest-based content or even adapting assessments in real-time based on performance.
Having the right technology to manage your talent prepares your company for long-term growth, but having the right technology to engage and develop that talent is also critical.
3. Outdated course offerings
The digital age means that every industry is rapidly evolving, with new technologies and strategies to learn every year. When you’re trying to develop continuing education content, it can feel impossible to keep up with the pace of innovation.
Especially in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, even content that is less than a year old may not reflect the way your industry operates. This can be especially true if you need to update onboarding processes for remote work.
By integrating continuing education tech into your training program, you’ll have a curriculum that can easily be modified when your needs (inevitably) change.
A robust CE platform like an LMS can make it easy to update courses or author brand new ones. This Web Courseworks guide lists some of the most critical features to look for in association software, and we’d bet that many of these features would benefit your company as well.
4. Issues tracking progress and gathering data
Without the right technology, continuing education can be tough to track.
Previously, you may have had online registration software in place to help you monitor which employees had completed which training sessions. But when the content is also delivered online, it may be harder to keep accurate records.
State-of-the-art LMS software allows you to gather and export data about your learners and your courses. You can then draw conclusions from this data in order to:
- Track employee progress to evaluate performance.
- See areas of weakness or strength across a team.
- Determine which courses are most successful.
These insights can guide your efforts to improve your current CE content and develop new material.
5. Problems with certification.
Some fields, like healthcare, require extensive CE documentation for employees to maintain certification or licensure. With so many requirements and credits to keep track of, this can be tricky to successfully manage.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of certification requirements for employees, continuing education technology can help you streamline your process.
With a system in place like an LMS, your employees would be able to make progress towards relevant training requirements all in one place. When complete, they are able to share documentation and certifications directly with the appropriate governing bodies. Throughout the process, you can track course progress in order to keep things running smoothly.
Continuing education initiatives can be beneficial to workers in all industries, but it works best when content is useful, engaging, and current. By exploring options for CE technology in your workplace, you can optimize your training and development programs to ensure employee success.
Amber Winter is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Web Courseworks. She’s committed to helping association executives realize the potential of their education programs and turn them into high performing revenue generators. Amber was named one of Madison, Wisconsin’s 40 under 40 and the number 1 LMS salesperson by Talented Learning.