aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

More Defense and a Challenge

Posted by Ellen on February 8, 2009

We all know that the economic “decline” (in Michigan, it feels more like “disaster”) is affecting how we’re re-evaluating our learning offerings, shifting the focus from face-to-face to online delivery methods.

So it’s more important than ever that we:

  • distinguish when a traditional course is appropriate (see In Defense of the Course) and necessary
  • determine the type of instruction and learning that needs to occur (skills? information? concepts?)

Why? Because if we continue to load face-to-face events with passive learning experiences (aka Death by PowerPoint presentations), our members will opt out of attending, annihilate our registration and revenue goals, and  — in a worst case scenario — gut our educational programs. What a loss that would be to our associations and members!

Stop the craziness! Here’s the challenge: if you have information-focused programs, consider them for online delivery via Webinars (see When Webinars are a Bad Idea for ideas on making this decision). If you have content that is conducive to hands-on learning, a workshop environment, and physical engagement with the topic, load your face-to-face programs with it.

You need to give your members reasons why they should spend the additional money to attend an event in person — incurring precious transportation, lodging, and other costs. This isn’t to say that a compelling speaker won’t be enough, but if you choose to take that route, consider building into your program ways for attendees to personally meet that speaker, providing additional value over somethign that could have been recorded and streamed over the Web.

It’s all about time, expense, and value. Save them time, save them expense, and provide them with the best value. You owe them that.

2 Responses to “More Defense and a Challenge”

  1. Josh Goldman said

    Hi Ellen,

    I can’t get to your, “when webinars are bad” hyperlink. takes me to wordpress log-in and I’d love to read your thoughts on that topic.

  2. Ellen said

    Josh — So sorry about that bad link! Here’s the correct one:

    Great to have you visit the blog! Let me know if you agree with what makes a good — and bad — Webinar….


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