What Associations Can Learn from K-12
Before the long holiday weekend, we had the pleasure of perusing a new infographic from KnowledgeWorks. Brought to our attention by Jeff Cobb, author of 10 Ways to Be a Better Learner, the infographic displays one company’s view of the “Future of Learning.” Click here to see the infographic, or click the image below.
The infographic points “the way toward a diverse learning ecosystem”—a more personalized and more connected system. Katherine Prince, Senior Director of Strategic Foresight for KnowledgeWorks, reflected on the potential for applying these radical changes to “a wide variety of digitally-mediated or place-based learning experiences.” Therefore, although KnowledgeWorks focuses on K-12 education, their strategic vision outlined in the infographic has applications for professional associations as well. And for associations– these “futuristic” online education opportunities are available now.
Associations are primarily responsible for the education of adults. So, what are strategies that they can use to provide “futuristic” professional development and training for their members? How does KnowledgeWorks’ forecast for diverse and connected learning apply to adult education today? The future is here in online adult education.
Below, we look at four ways associations are meeting the forecast put forth by KnowledgeWorks.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Association LMS – Yes or No?: The Truth Is…. You Might Not Need an LMS
I receive calls from associations who insist they need an LMS when they already have the software systems to deliver their informal professional development programs. Here are five questions you should ask yourself before entering the murky world of vetting vendors and sending out LMS RFPs (requests for proposals). (Full disclaimer: I am CEO of Web Courseworks, which markets a SaaS based LMS and course development services).
My premise comes down to the question: Are you providing informal or formal education? I’ve blogged about this before (Social Media vs. Formal Education) and so has Ellen at ALearning (Information or… Information?). The answer is simple: If you are providing informal learning only you do not need an LMS. Period. Chances are between your website’s content management system, association management system and/or your social media platform you can deliver a plethora of information to your members. On the other hand, if you are providing formal education chances are you should seriously be in the market for an LMS.
First, what do I mean by Informal and Formal Learning activities?
Here are the questions you need to reflect on:
- Do you provide education for a formal designation?
- Is your designation, certification, or credential taken seriously?
- Do you have a professional online course designer on staff?
- Are you willing to staff for an LMS administrator?
- Do you want to generate revenue from your formal education?
- Do you have the staff to run your education programs like a business?
- Do you believe that a formal educational experience should take serious time commitment on the part of your members?
- Does your community of practice have a list of expected competencies and is the association responsible for licensing or upholding the quality of professionals in the community?
- Do you currently have a classroom based formal education program that must go online?
- Is it important that members perceive your educational offerings as of high value?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions you should take a serious start down the road of reviewing Learning Management Systems.
Thank you to Louis Loeffler’s blog for this link to the writings about informal learning and professional development. His comment about Richard Elmore, professor of educational leadership at Harvard is worth reading.The article (link) on how instructors can get continuous professional development through Blogs is another endorsement of informal learning! Last night in class I asked my professor how many education professors maintain Blogs. You can probably guess the answer. There is no stopping the Internet “informal learning revolution” regardless of whether trainers or educators adopt.