Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Create Better Professional Development Offerings

If you’re trying to boost your numbers for your learning programs, think about surveys, data, and how your courses might impact membership. Check out this piece for a few suggestions from our archives.

Professional development might not look the same as it once did, but it nonetheless remains one of the key reasons people remain active in an association.

So, of course, you want to get it right.

Whether the solution is more data, smarter marketing, or better audience targeting, there are lots of tactics to move the needle. Here are just a few from the Associations Now and archives:

Four Ways to Better Measure Your Professional Development Offerings. It’s one thing to build strong professional development offerings but another entirely to have a strong understanding of how they work. This piece highlighted how the American Speech-​Language-Hearing Association tackled the problem within their organization. Short answer: surveys. “Our being intentional about how we’re using surveys has been really, really important,” said Jack Coursen, ASHA’s director of professional development.

Use Data to Boost Your Professional Development Programs. Chris Urena, who preceded Coursen in the professional development role at ASHA before becoming the Endocrine Society’s chief learning officer, had his own thoughts on the role data plays in the creation of learning opportunities, which he shared in a 2017 piece. One area he recommended associations look? Market segmentation. “Typically, associations have not been frontrunners in segmenting their consumers,” he wrote. “Market segmentation takes time but is valuable for demonstrating increased engagement, revenue, and member satisfaction rates.”

Top-Five Concerns for Professional Development Staff. Rebecca Campbell, CAE, who formerly served as CPE director at the Colorado Society of CPAs, highlighted the challenges that many professional development pros face in their roles—first, through a survey done by ASAE, then, via her own reflections on the survey. “It struck me as I read the results of this survey that these issues are similar to ones that I face every day,” Campbell wrote.

The Missing Link Between Membership and Professional Development. This 2015 piece detailed some challenges that many associations face in trying to connect their professional development offerings to membership recruitment. “Clearly, professional development is one of the biggest drivers of people toward associations, if not the biggest,” former Associations Now blogger Joe Rominiecki wrote. “And yet the typical method for tying an association’s education programs to its membership package is through a simple member discount (whether as a percentage, a bundle, a voucher, or other).”

Three Tips for Creating Appealing Professional Development Courses. Whether it’s by targeting in-demand learning needs, simplifying registration, or bringing loyalty marketing to the mix, there’s room for more experimentation when it comes to improving the impact of professional development courses, according to Asaf Darash, founder and CEO of Regpack. “Determine what makes your course offerings unique and provide learners with a convenient registration experience and valuable lessons to expand your organization’s educational offerings,” he wrote.

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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