Technology

Daily Buzz: Online Classes Are a Low-Cost Investment

By / Jul 31, 2020 (Olivier Le Moal/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Open online courses aren’t going anywhere—and employers should take notice. Also: What are your members’ expectations?

College enrollment may be down, but don’t mistake that for a lack of interest in education. Online courses are skyrocketing, particularly the variety known as MOOCs, or massive open online courses. Enrollment at one platform was up 640 percent from mid-March to mid-April from the same period in 2019.

Chris Impey, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona who also leads research on MOOCs, writes at The Conversation about this colossal growth. The COVID-19 pandemic logically accounts for part of the explosion, but that doesn’t mean online education is a flash in the pan. “With the catalyst of the pandemic, the full potential of MOOCs may be realized,” Impey says.

The birth of microcredentials (modular units that can be combined to form a qualification), partnerships with universities, rising college costs, and the skills gap have all contributed to the rise of online education.

It’s a boon for learners of all sorts—and a particular opportunity for employers (and associations, which could offer MOOCs as a part of their educational offerings).

“Most people pay for MOOCs themselves and take them in their spare time, which is a missed chance for employers to invest in their workforce relatively cheaply,” Impey says.

Know What Members Want

The first step to meeting—and exceeding—your members’ expectations is to know what they are. They might join your association because of the concrete benefits membership provides, but their underlying expectations may dictate their loyalty and affinity in the long run.

Callie Walker at MemberClicks lays out three basic member expectations: a seamless online user experience, updates on industry news, and what Walker terms “a certain level of professionalism.”

“This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many organizations (unintentionally) get this wrong,” Walker says. “Professionalism doesn’t just equate to your organization’s tone. It’s a combination of attributes that gives your organization that professional (or unprofessional) image.”

Other Links of Note

Strategic silence can be your ally on social media, as Austin Braun explains on Sprout Social.

As the meeting and events industry moves forward, Forbes asks planners to consider the particular needs of their freelance cohorts.

Freely available data is a terrible thing to waste, says Amanda Kaiser at Smooth the Path.

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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