aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Don’t Survey Your Members About Online Learning

Posted by Ellen on May 10, 2008

…because they won’t know how to answer your questions. Imagine you have never attended a live Webinar. Pretend you have never seen a stand-alone, instructorless, asynchronous course. Picture not knowing what an archived or recorded Webcast is.

Now try to answer these questions:

  • If offered, would you register for an online course?
  • Would you prefer to access the course live or in a stand-alone format?
  • If you had the choice of listening to the narration, or reading the content, which would you prefer?

!?!? You see what I’m getting at?

So should you skip surveying your members about online learning?

Of course not!

You just have to do it in a way that evokes answers that will help you. Questions with suggested answers that will give you an idea of how familiar your members are with the Internet and finding their way around it. For example, you could ask:

  • About how much time do you spend on the Internet? [Offer choices broken down by daily, weekly, and monthly time periods]
  • When you’re on the Internet, do you [check all that apply]:
    • Play games with others
    • Play games alone
    • Shop to find products
    • Purchase products
    • Listen to music
    • Download music
    • Listen to podcasts
    • Download podcasts to listen to later
    • Watch TV shows or movies
    • Download TV shows or movies
    • Visit sites such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.
    • Read the news
    • Read wikis
    • Edit wiki entries
    • Take online polls
    • Read blogs
    • Participate in online forums or groups
    • View or share photos
    • Other [please describe]
  • Which of the following do you do online [check all that apply]:
    • Check bank account balance
    • Conduct banking business (transfer funds, etc.)
    • Pay bills
    • Buy, sell, or trade stocks or mutual funds
    • Transact other business (for example, have a second business and use the Web to take orders, process payments, etc.)
    • Use an Internet phone system (such as Vonage)
    • Other [please describe]:
  • Do you [check all that apply]:
    • Have your own Web site
    • Have your own blog
    • Have your own podcast
    • Have your own online photo album
    • Have accounts on any of the following: Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn
    • Create and send your own e-newsletters
  • Do you own [check all that apply] or does your computer/laptop include:
    • A headset
    • A microphone
    • An MP3 player (such as an iPod)
    • A DVD player
    • A media player
    • A digital still camera
    • A digital video camera
    • A cell phone or PDA with Internet access

You can probably phrase these questions and options differently, and other questions will occur to you, but hopefully you get the picture: you want to get a feel for how comfortable your members are on the Web.

Are your members familiar enough with the Web to conduct business? Interact with others? Use a headset/speakers? Watch streaming content? Create their own content? If so, then your members should require less preparation for online learning.

If you don’t see many items checked – no games, no shopping or business transactions, no blogging, no music or video, etc. – then your members are telling you they will need to learn more about how to access anything online, from login to navigation, to listening and viewing streamed content.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: