Getting Started with eLearning and How Mobile is Transforming Professional Development

At the ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) Tech Conference last week, I attended a terrific session called “Anytime, Anywhere eLearning: How Mobile Transforms Education.” Wendy Rath and Mary Rehm of PRMIA (Professional Risk Managers’ International Association), as well as Ken Parker from NextThought, did a terrific job of articulating PRMIA’s eLearning journey.

 

Background on PRMIA and its Professional Development Program:

PRMIA is a professional society that creates an open forum for the development and promotion of the risk profession. A big part of how PRMIA accomplishes its mission is professional development and education. But recently, PRMIA education appeared to be in trouble. Registrations were way down and the association had to cancel a number of meetings.

What did PRMIA decide to do? Instead of just blasting out more emails, PRMIA decided to go deep and learn more about what’s really happening with their members and their educational needs and objectives.
 
PRMIA conducted a member survey and learned:
  • Members want more learning opportunities, not less.
  • Members are constrained in terms of time and money.
  • Members want online learning.

The eLearning Solution

Knowing what they learned about members’ education need and desires, PRMIA got to work.
  • They took a long, hard look at their technology and realized that much of it was already conducive to eLearning. Much of it supported a mobile experience. The rub was that PRMIA was not taking advantage of these features.
  • PRMIA invested in a new learning mangement platform; they selected Articulate Storyline.
  • They started re-developing their in person courses to be offered online.
  • They offered courses online, in real time, but also recorded courses for on demand viewing later.

Lessons Learned

After about a year of effort and redevelopment, here’s what PRMIA learned:
  • When re-developing courses, their winning formula was to split up a course into 10 nano lessons, each about 5-10 minutes long.
  • The sessions work best when they are standalone, i.e., members can pick and choose the sessions that interest them, and don’t need to have taken any prerequisites in order to take a specific sesson.
  • When offering online courses, you need a really dynamic speaker AND really great slides. Otherwise, it’s hard to keep the attention of the students.
  • eLearning must be mobile-friendly. Test out your online courses yourself on a phone and tablet and make sure you can navigate the environment easily.
  • Solicit feedback from registrants and have a plan to respond to comments.
Is your organization ready for an eLearning strategy?