helping association members accept and embrace online learning

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Helping Association Members Accept And Embrace Online Learning

iCohere, Inc.Walnut Creek, CA Washington,

Lance A. Simon, CVEPExecutive Vice President

The views expressed and examples shown here do NOT represent any official views of, nor endorsement by, any professional organization or any agency of the U.S. Government.iCohere educational webinars provide 0.5 credits toward CAE application or renewal professional development requirements. Live attendees only.

Special guest:Jo Lynn DealmyMarketing Cafe


About Your Trainers Lance Simon: Lance Simon, executive vice president for iCohere, has 30 years of experience selling, implementing, and managing enterprise software products and services.He has helped organizations as varied as American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) build robust eLearning programs.

Jo Lynn Deal: Jo Lynn Deal, president of My Marketing Cafe, helps organizations build integrated marketing programs using todays digital channels. She has worked with corporations, associations and nonprofits of all sizes. Visit or email


iCohere Unified Learning SystemCustom development shop since 1987Platform first launched in 2001Headquarters in Walnut Creek, CAIndependent, owned by CEO/Co-founderDeveloped and cloud managed by iCohereOn U.S. Government Federal GSA schedulesSection 508 Accessibility



First! Housekeeping ItemsThis session is being recordedNo fees are paid to Amanda Batson for this presentationAudio: Internet or PhoneSend us your questions & comments through Chat. Your name is displayed. No product questions or self-promotions.We remove the attendee list and chat from the session archive.In about an hour: webinar archive and slides available from inside the iCohere Academy!


Next! Session Learning ObjectivesAt the conclusion of this session you should understand why members resist online learningkey steps to successfully introduce the virtual settingwhen and why to engage members before the event(s) real world examples of associations using online learningelements of the iCohere unified learning system


And DisclosuresLance A. Simon, CVEP is Executive Vice President for iCohere and the instructor of the Meetings Without Walls course.This presentation is provided free and with no obligation for practitioners and consultants only. We follow-up with all program registrants.Competitors are not allowed to participate in this live program or to view the program archive.

Key Reasons Members Resist Online LearningYour association is ready to develop or expand an online elearning program, but your members are resisting. Here is why they are resisting.New technology, concerns about competencyLoss of human interaction, networkingHigher cost of programs or membership?More workFear, Uncertainty, Doubt (FUD)!


Resistance To Engagement (Participants)Multi-tasking BoredomLack of buy-inLack of shared purposeFear of looking unprofessionalFear of being caught not knowing

7 Steps to Successfully Introduce Members to a Virtual Setting


Strategy: Why Go Virtual?YOUR ORGANIZATION wants/needs toReduce meeting/training cost, increase ROIExpand meeting/training reach

Why go virtual, either with webinars or a hybrid or all-virtual meetings/conference? What are your organizations strategic objectives?

Well, as weve discussed, many meetings either cannot happen in-person any more or are struggling to reach their attendance goals due to travel restrictions. So reducing cost and increasing ROI is a prime reason.

Even most successful physical conferences reach just a fraction of the total national or global audience who could benefit from the content. New virtual attendees may become advocates for your organization, or members, or physical meeting attendees, or sponsors. So expanding your meetings total reach is another major strategic goal that should be stated.


Strategy: Why Go Virtual?YOUR ORGANIZATION wants/needs toReduce meeting/training cost, increase ROIExpand meeting/training reach Help meet/exceed CO2 reduction goals

Your organization may also have a goal regarding carbon emission reduction. If not it should. Going virtual reduces the overall carbon footprint of your meetings, sometimes drastically so.


Strategy: Why Go Virtual?YOUR ORGANIZATION wants/needs toReduce meeting/training cost, increase ROIExpand meeting/training reach Help meet/exceed CO2 reduction goalsEnhance accessibilityStrengthen the organizations partnering Generate more overall meeting revenues

Its just common sense to realize that making these kinds of programs available live online to physically-challenged people in their homes & offices, where they can use assistive technologies and not have to travel, is a huge boon to those who really have a difficult time taking part in traditional meetings.

If your organization has as a goal to look for ways to reach out to partner institutions then opening your conferences to a broader audience online may enable a direct positive impact on that objective.

And lastly there is the potential for creating new revenue opportunities through new online meetings, online sponsorships, online tradeshows, and overall expanded Continuing Education units and attendee registration revenues.


Strategy: Why Go Virtual?YOUR MEMBERS/ATTENDEES want/need toReduce their expenses Reduce time-from-officeKeep innovatingNetwork with colleaguesReduce personal CO2 impactEngage in a way their disabilities allowComplete required trainings/credentialsSharpen their professional edge

And on the other side of the coin, if we look at it from the attendees perspective, the potential benefits are very significant. They basically mirror what we weve just been talking about for the orgs objectives.

How awesome that the organizations goals are so well aligned with the virtual attendees goals. So strategically your virtual programs provides you with a potentially huge win-win for all parties involved.


#1: Include Association Members in Program DevelopmentMembers are more likely to accept change when they know their concerns have been heard and they have been given the opportunity to contributeAssociation members bring an end-user perspective to developing the online programsInclude member-generated content in the online programs

One of the most important steps to gaining member support for online learning is to include them in the decision making process. The more we educate our members, the more they will see the true and long-term benefits of these high quality programs. Members are more likely to accept change when they know their concerns have been heard and they have been given the opportunity to contribute. Second, association members bring an end-user perspective to developing the online programs. They are the people we are creating the programs for and their input is critical to designing programs to meet their needs. And finally, association members are the most experienced in their field. They will serve as a critical source of content for the online learning programs. We will include member-generated content in the online programs.


#2: Tie Online Learning to the Bottom LineMarket Share Analysis Showcase the success of comparable industry associations using online learning to benefit the association and its membersCost Comparison Compare the costs of live events with online learningReusable Assets Highlight the long-term value of reusable assets

Technology has made tremendous advancements over the last few decades and continues to advance at a more rapid pace every day. One of the key ways to resolve member resistance to online programs is to thoroughly research the value and benefits and show how it affects the associations bottom line. There are a few ways we can do this.

First, we can conduct a market analysis that presents our association next to other similar associations. We can show the success of online programs as it relates to member recruitment and retention, revenue generation, and positioning the association as a leading information source in the field or industry.

Second, we can create a side-by-side cost comparison of holding live events versus virtual events. What is important here is to show the long term value of online learning. The benefits to members is ongoing and can be accessed indefinitely.

And finally, everything you use to educate your members, from workshop curriculum, to PowerPoint slides are assets of your organization. There is an initial cost to creating the material but it can be used in a multitude of ways for long term benefit and revenue. All the materials you create can be interconnected, and repurposed. 17

#3: Recruit Respected Influencer(s) as the Project Spokesperson(s)Industry Influencers leaders who are well-known and respected in the industryInfluential Association Members members who are highly regarded by other membersLeaders of important Association Business Partners

Member resistance can be managed by employing influential spokespeople to help share about the training and program implementation. Influence mapping involves identifying your stakeholders, and in this case they are our association members. Then, of these members, we identify who are the most influential stakeholders who also have the largest circles. These are the ideal candidates for spokespeople. Constructing influence maps regularly, you can become more effective and create an appropriate environment fo