Because of changes in sponsor regulations¹, conference attendance is expected to drop by 30%². This increasingly makes cross-event learning an essential asset for associations to attract members, share knowledge, and increase revenue. The 5th Association Technology Report by Tagoras³ showed that while most associations offer educational online materials, only half of them set a formal strategy behind it. Creating and maintaining a learning portal that transcends the borders of educational events, requires a variety of actions and tools. Our Sales Executive Remco Kraai has a closer look at these challenges and provides steps and tools to successfully implement it.

Challenge

In 2017, 92,7 % of membership organisations offered technology-enhanced or -enabled learning. Webinars, live-streaming, or online libraries are some of many ways to deliver valuable knowledge beyond the meeting room. But implementing an effective learning portal that offers value beyond your event calls for thoughtful planning. The right strategy will enable you to add value to your members and to give your conference knowledge a year-round purpose.

Solution

Start by dividing your members into different target groups and define their characteristics. What are they looking for and how do they prefer to learn? Continue with listing all the material that is already a part of your e-learning. Do you offer podcasts on iTunes or a knowledge database on your website? Some associations even provide a full learning management system for their members.

Now match the right material to the right target groups and make sure that you provide material that speaks to the target groups you are aiming at. Webinars and live-streams are popular among younger members and can be a good fit for people who cannot attend your conference. Abstracts help to gain an overview of a topic while journals allow deeper insights and still your members’ information hunger. By offering a variety of content, you appeal to a variety of members.

Now that you have an overview of your materials, check their accessibility. Where can users find the information and can they easily access it? More than half of the e-learning materials are not suitable for mobile devices³. A burden for most members as we are living in a mobile-first world,  and especially for millennials who are mobile-only and want to instantly access the knowledge and learn on the go.

Organisations tend to spread their knowledge across different social media, multiple websites, or internal networks. The key to successful knowledge distribution and learning in the mobile world is to make it centrally accessible. Therefore, the choice for one, a mobile-friendly portal is a must-do. Your members will appreciate the fast access to, and easy navigation through, the information they are looking for.

Everything in place? Now start using your learning portal to attract non-members and to communicate with existing members. Present your e-learning opportunities to promote your organisation’s value and do it continuously. A central mobile portal allows you to spread your knowledge year-round. Take advantage of this direct connection in the palm of your member’s hands and notify them about new content, encouraging them to revisit your e-learning.

Last but not least: Monitor and measure the behaviour of your users and their interaction with your content. What topics are popular and why are they valued by your members? Insights about the usage of different channels will help you to make informed decisions on future projects and better cater to your events to the demands of your attendees.

Tools

Mobile apps present an easy way to create an e-learning portal. Upload videos, posters, or journals into your app and combine them with links to your webinars, social media channels, and additional online material. Make sure that the content is organised and easy to find. This can be done by either sorting the material by topic or by adding a search function. The Conference Compass Society App can not only organise the educational content of your conferences and events in a digital library but functions as a central knowledge portal. The app combines your educational channels by offering access to your events, journals, courses, and more. A powerful CMS allows you to add new information year-round which you can promote through direct notifications on their mobile devices. The app’s analytics function provides insight into the usage of your app and shows which content is valued most by your members.

Are you looking for a powerful tool that supports your event learning strategy?

¹ Changes in the MedTech Europe Code of Ethical Business Practice

² Prominent European Cardiologists Decry Curbs On Industry Support For Docs Attending Medical Meetings / Conference Organizers, Physicians Wary as Direct Industry Sponsorship Winds Down in Europe

³ Association Learning + Technology Report