aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Tightening the Connections

Posted by Ellen on February 10, 2010

What’s the Number One reason your members join and renew? Is it because of the connections they make to others? The certification you provide that they need for their profession? The vast libraries of information and expertise within your association?

In some ways, the first two are tied to the last: members want to connect to others because of the expertise their peers can provide. They pursue a certification because of the knowledge they’ll gain from it.

Thanks to our adaption of social networking platforms, or our leveraging of those on the Web, we’re doing a better job of helping our members connect to each other.

But what about connecting our members to us? To those vast libraries of information within our association?

How quickly can they find that article they remember reading in your magazine last year sometime about Topic A?

How easily can they find a copy of the case study they heard about at the annual conference awhile three or four years ago?

On the surface, this sounds like a Knowledge Management issue. Or an Information Architecture challenge.

But it’s learning, too.

The Wall Street Journal gets it. According to an article in the November T+D magazine, Dow Jones Company “realized … that the content was more than just a newspaper or a media outlet but a teaching tool….”

They created the Wall Street Journal Business SmartKit, “an online offering that captures an entire library of Wall Street Journal articles plus special secgtions from best in class industry experts who are devoted to dynamic topics and interviews with business leaders.”

Whoa! Talk about a library of expertise at your fingertips!

The article goes on to describe that the content is organized by subject and “packaged in multiple formats including searchable newspaper articles, white papers, case studies, videos, and podcasts,” so searchers can find what they need.

The premise is that people need to know something right now, find it quickly, and apply it immediately. The SmartKit is “a knowledge resource” rather than a course or curriculum.

Are you providing easy access to your association’s knowledge resources? Or are you spending hours on end, trying to meet a members’ request for a particular article, handout, or copy of a Powerpoint presentation?

Wouldn’t your time be better served by creating an online library of those resources that your members can access independently any time, any where?

Of course it would!

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