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Credit Union Group Develops Interactive Virtual Classrooms

To better meet its members’ education needs, CUES is rolling out a type of e-learning that offers more interaction than traditional online education formats do.

Recognizing that not all its members have the time and budget required to travel to in-person education programs, as well as that some topics are difficult to tackle in the traditional online learning environment, the industry group for credit union executives, CUES, recently launched a live-taught web-based series called the CUES Elite Access Virtual Classroom.

The virtual classroom allows interaction among the instructor and participants. Participants can ask the instructor questions, and attendees can break into small-group discussions through conference calls. “The goal is to provide an online learning experience closer to what people would experience if they were actually in a classroom, in a way that’s convenient and affordable,” said Christopher Stevenson, senior vice president and chief learning officer.

While Stevenson said traditional online learning formats are ideal for straightforward topics like compliance training, more complex topics aimed at mid- to upper-level managers—such as leadership and risk management—do not lend themselves well to recorded or text-based online education. Such topics, he said, “require some level of reflection.”

Because Elite Access allows attendees to interact with the instructor and with peers, it enhances their ability to apply what they’re learning to their own organizations. “Ultimately, it’s about the conversation,” Stevenson said.

Each course includes pre-work, two 60-minute live-taught classroom sessions, and assignments in between to give attendees the opportunity to apply lessons to their own organizations. The new format also helps CUES develop additional education content and bolster its existing content—which is central to its mission to educate and develop credit union CEOs, directors, and future leaders.

Before deciding on the right platform, CUES conducted several pilot projects, including multiple versions of virtual classrooms. “Each time, we identified additional snags that needed to be worked through,” Stevenson said. “For people to see the value, it needs to be delivered in a way that is smooth.”

CUES has scheduled one Elite Access session per month for the next several months. The first one is in February, specifically for credit union board liaisons. “As we progress, we will develop more depth” in the topics available through Elite Access, Stevenson said, adding that CUES is exploring a series on women in leadership, as well as certification programs.

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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