The continuing education (CE) and training industry has moved forward from the recession and into a period of prosperity. The next several years look to be strong as well, with an increased demand in professional development training.
CE professionals are adding more training programs, but there is little to no budget increase to accompany the growth. Therefore, these programs must have a better ROI so an association can continue to offer them.
To get a better idea of the issues facing the CE industry and the impact on the production and delivery of training content, we conducted a survey. Ninety training professionals named their biggest challenges.
- Program marketing: In order to create more programs without an additional budget, it’s important that each course attract enough learners to earn its keep. Promoting training programs has become increasingly important. CE professionals, many of which don’t have a marketing background, might not feel comfortable in this role.
- Content development: In some industries, the same issues continue to arise for professionals. Even if topics are evergreen, though, content is not. Keeping training materials fresh and relevant to learners is an important component to a successful course.
- Program development: New courses show that your training program is responding to suggestions from its members. Adding topics, or changing the focus of an existing course, keeps your association relevant and allows learners to continue their professional development through your association.
Are these challenge consistent with your experience? How do you plan to meet these challenges? A few suggestions to get you thinking:
Program marketing: Look for opportunities to cross-promote programs. You could include information about a new program in a printed book or online materials for your association’s most popular course. You might also consider refreshing your content to ensure that your materials and training program are marketable. Promoting a course is easier when you feel proud of the materials your association has produced.
Content development: Consider alternate ways to make content changes more manageable for your association. Print on demand is one option; there will be less excess inventory and waste if you print materials as needed. Outsourcing this process can help save you time and frustration.
Program development: Call on feedback from post-course surveys to determine topics that are most important to learners. Remember that creating brand-new courses takes time and energy. In order to make big projects like program development tenable, delegate day-to-day tasks to other staff and volunteers as much as possible.
To learn more about your colleagues and the challenges they face, read the full report.