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Integrate your LMS with an Online Community to Grow Your Association’s Revenue

Pair your LMS with community to grow your revenue, increase member satisfaction, and create deeper connections with and between your members through your virtual education program.

As much as you want to introduce new benefits for members to encourage retention, sometimes it’s hard to justify spending more to develop those programs. New benefits must be weighed against the need to create new revenue streams. Educational programs that bring in non-dues revenue offer the best of both worlds – providing member value while bringing in revenue at the same time.

But how do you ensure that your programs are easy to access for members, and easy to support for staff? And how do you drive member engagement with these educational programs? Having a learning management system (LMS) integrated with your community is the answer!

association member learning on an LMS

Education Drives Engagement and Revenue

As you likely already know, educational programs are a huge benefit for associations and their members. They offer members continuous opportunities for growth and development and keep them updated in their respective fields. These programs not only enhance the skills and knowledge of members but also contribute to the overall success and relevance of the association itself. By providing educational content, associations demonstrate their commitment to advancing their members’ professional journeys, fostering a sense of community, and staying at the forefront of industry trends.

A learning management system (LMS) plays a crucial role in streamlining the delivery of educational programs for associations. They simplify the process of creating, organizing, and delivering content, making it more accessible to a broader audience. With an LMS, associations can offer a diverse range of learning materials, including webinars, courses, interactive modules, and assessments, all in one centralized platform. This not only saves time and resources but also allows for personalized learning experiences tailored to each member’s needs and preferences. Additionally, an LMS enables associations to track member progress, gather feedback, and continually improve their educational offerings, ensuring they remain valuable and impactful in the long run.

Whether you offer paid certifications, training, continuing education credits, or virtual courses. an LMS can make that easier. And having your LMS integrated with your community is even better!

Pair Your Community and LMS to Create a Top Association Member Benefit

Your association is competing for attention and dollars. So you need your educational programs to be top of mind for members. Community engagement helps you achieve that. Pairing your LMS and community leads to greater awareness of your educational programs, higher member satisfaction, deeper connections between your members, and increased revenue for your organization.

With an LMS that integrates with your online community, it’s possible to create a centralized, seamless, and engaging member experience.

  • Easy Access: Integrating your LMS and online community allows for single sign-on (SSO), meaning members can log into your LMS using the same credentials as your online community.
  • Incentivize with Gamification: With a connected LMS and community, you can award badges and ribbons to gamify the experience. A healthy amount of social pressure is a good way to encourage members to dip their toes into virtual learning. By giving members who have completed certain courses or certifications badges, members can see who else uses your LMS resources
  • Highlight Opportunities: Keep education opportunities front and center with Quicklinks or an Event Calendar in your online community to promote paid courses and earn more non-dues revenue. Seeing the ribbons and badges displayed on their peers’s accounts may also spur other community members to check out what you have to offer.

Example: The American Gear Manufacturers’ Association uses their integrated LMS and Higher Logic Community to help their members succeed and stay connected.

Tip: You can also use your LMS to earn dues revenue by using it as a tool for recruitment. For example, if you advertise certain courses as free to members, and charge a fee for non-members, you can use it as a marketing tool to recruit new members to your association.

Make Learning Experiences More Engaging with an Online Community

If your association is looking for ways to embrace online learning, here are three traditional learning experiences that can be offered online, encouraging participation via your online community.

1. Individual Learning

Individual learning experiences are self-study courses. A member works on their own to consume educational material and pass assessments. A traditional individual learning experience could look like a member reading a textbook and completing a worksheet on the material.

How to Improve Participation Using Your LMS + Community: Use your LMS to develop individual virtual courses. To build your courses around an individual experience, design each course or set of courses around videos, documents, and assessments that your members can complete, encouraging them to seek help from an instructor or their peers – easily accessible through your online community. Your digital courses can stand alone, or they can be grouped together into related learning paths. When members complete the entire learning path, award them a badge or ribbon in the community.

2. Group Learning

Group learning is a collective experience. Instead of one person consuming material and drawing their own conclusions, members interact with their peers and teachers to get different perspectives and ideas. Traditional group learning formats include workshops and roundtable discussions.

How to Increase Engagement Using Your LMS + Community: The most common online group learning format is a live webinar. During a webinar, participants can ask questions either verbally or through chat boxes, interacting with the presenter and their peers. Many standalone learning management systems support live webinars, but to take group learning to the next level, choose an LMS that’s tightly integrated with an online community platform. Online communities provide more tools for students to interact with one another, including private communities just for people taking courses. In these communities, members can ask and answer questions in discussion forums, have conversations about course material, and share ideas. Teachers and experts can also engage with learners to provide deeper insight into challenging concepts. Through these strategies, you can maximize member engagement during the webinar and long after.

3. Blended Learning

Blended learning experiences mix individual coursework with group learning. This approach is common in traditional classrooms, where students are led by teachers, but also complete some assignments individually. Students frequently take a break from individual assignments to interact with peers as well, breaking into groups for discussions or larger projects.

How to Improve Efficiency Using Your LMS + Community: If you already have the tools to provide individual and group learning, then creating a blended learning experience is easy – just create courses that include elements from both. This may mean that you create a single course that includes text documents for members to read on their own while also incorporating live webinars. But the easiest way to create a blended learning experience is to build individual courses in your learning management system and automatically invite participants to an online community designed specifically for students or alumni.

This tends to be the easiest solution for associations because, while staff can stimulate discussions, the community also allows participants to engage organically. They can ask their own questions, which are answered by peers, and discuss material without detailed oversight from your staff. Program alumni can also stay in touch after the course has ended to discuss how they’ve applied the curriculum in their day-to-day processes.

Pro Tip: Not all online learning needs to be centered around courses. Online mentoring programs that help members learn practical skills from experts are also effective blended learning tools. Mentoring programs can be popular because they allow mentors and mentees to connect regardless of location and focus on the most useful skills and information. Many mentees apply what they’ve learned immediately to perform better at work and advance their careers.

Engage Members with a Full Experience Using Learning and Community

The best learning management systems will make creating an engaging experience easy by supporting a variety of content types and integrating with your AMS and online community. With every tool tightly connected, you can provide effective online education that fits each individual member’s needs and increases non-dues revenue.

Are you ready to jumpstart your learning program with community?

Laura Coscarelli
Laura Coscarelli

Laura Coscarelli is a former Higher Logic Senior Community Strategist. With over 10 years of experience as a community manager, she has since begun consulting with organizations to plan, launch, and grow their online communities. Laura loves the excitement of the moment right before a new community goes live – knowing the impact that it will have on the organization and the users. When she’s not cheerleading for her customers, she enjoys hosting fondue dinner parties, restoring old houses, and biking with her husband in Washington, D.C.