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Best Practices in Offering Online Learning to Association Members

Online Learning for Association Members

Association member training refers to educational programs and resources offered by an association to its members. These training initiatives are designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of the association's members in specific areas relevant to their profession, industry, or interests.

Association member training can take various forms, including workshops, seminars, webinars, online courses, conferences, certification programs, and access to educational resources such as publications, research, and learning materials.

The primary goals of association member training typically include:

Professional Development

Providing members with opportunities to improve their professional skills and expertise, thereby advancing their careers or businesses.

Knowledge Enhancement

Offering access to current and relevant information, research, and best practices in their field or industry.


Creating opportunities for members to connect, collaborate, and learn from their peers and industry experts.


Offering certification or credentialing programs to validate members' expertise and enhance their credibility within their profession or industry.

Advocacy and Industry Growth

Equipping members with the knowledge and tools needed to advocate for their profession or industry's interests and contribute to its growth and development.

Member Engagement

Increasing member engagement and retention by providing valuable educational resources and fostering a sense of community within the association.

Association member training can cover a wide range of topics, including technical skills, leadership and management, industry-specific knowledge, regulatory compliance, and personal development. The format and delivery of training can vary, with associations often utilizing a mix of in-person and online methods to accommodate diverse learning preferences and member needs.

Overall, association member training plays a vital role in fulfilling the educational and professional development needs of members, enhancing their value proposition within the association, and contributing to the overall success of the association itself.

Best Practices in Offering Online Learning to Association Members

Offering online training to association members requires careful planning and execution to ensure that members receive value from the programs. Here are some best practices to consider:

Needs Assessment:

Start by conducting a thorough needs assessment among your association members. Understand their skills gaps, interests, and preferred learning formats.

Quality Content Creation:

Invest in high-quality content. Ensure that your training materials are well-structured, up-to-date, and relevant to your members' needs.

Diverse Learning Formats:

Offer a variety of learning formats, such as webinars, video courses, interactive modules, quizzes, and downloadable resources. Different members have different learning preferences.

User-Friendly Platform:

Choose a user-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) or platform for delivering online courses. Make sure it's easy to navigate and mobile-responsive.

Clear Navigation and Course Organization:

Organize courses logically with clear navigation. Use intuitive menus and labels to help members find the content they need quickly.

Member Engagement:

Encourage member engagement through discussion forums, peer collaboration, and interactive activities within the courses.

Certification and Recognition:

Offer certificates or badges upon course completion. Recognizing members' achievements can boost motivation.

Regular Updates:

Keep course content up-to-date to reflect changes in the industry. Ensure that all links, references, and examples are current.

Accessible Learning:

Ensure that your training materials are accessible to all members, including those with disabilities. Provide closed captioning for videos and ensure compatibility with screen readers.

Technical Support:

Offer technical support for members who encounter issues with the online training platform. Have a helpdesk or support email to address inquiries promptly.

Feedback Mechanism:

Implement a feedback system for members to provide input on courses and suggest improvements. Act on member feedback to enhance the training experience.

Promotion and Communication:

Promote your online training programs regularly through various channels, such as newsletters, emails, social media, and your association's website. Keep members informed about new courses and updates.

Pricing Strategy:

Determine the pricing strategy for your online courses. Consider offering discounts or free courses to members as a membership benefit.

Data Privacy and Security:

Ensure that your online training platform complies with data privacy and security regulations to protect members' personal information.

Member Support:

Offer support beyond technical assistance. Provide guidance and resources to help members set and achieve their learning goals.

Collaboration with Experts:

Collaborate with industry experts or experienced members to create and deliver training content. Their expertise can enhance the quality and credibility of your programs.

Track and Analyze Performance:

Use the LMS to track member progress and gather data on course completion rates, engagement, and areas for improvement. Use analytics to refine your training offerings.

Accessibility and Inclusivity:

Ensure that your online training is accessible to members with diverse backgrounds and needs. Consider offering courses in multiple languages if applicable.

Continual Improvement:

Continuously assess the effectiveness of your online training programs and make necessary improvements based on member feedback and performance data.

By following these best practices, your association can provide valuable and effective online training programs that meet the needs and expectations of your members, fostering their professional development and engagement within the association.

Choosing an LMS for Association Member Training

Selecting the right Learning Management System (LMS) for association member training is a crucial decision that can significantly impact the success of your training programs.

Here are steps and considerations to help you choose the best LMS for your association:

1. Define Your Requirements:

Before you begin evaluating LMS options, it's essential to clearly define your association's specific requirements and objectives for member training. Consider factors such as:

  • The types of courses and content you'll offer.

  • The number of users/members you expect to enroll.

  • The level of customization and branding you require.

  • Integration needs with other systems (e.g., association management software).

  • Reporting and analytics requirements.

  • Compliance and security considerations.

  • Budget constraints.

2. Conduct Market Research:

Research the LMS market to identify potential platforms that align with your requirements. Look for LMS solutions that are known for their suitability for association training programs.

3. Request Proposals and Demos:

Contact LMS vendors and request proposals or demos. During the demo, pay attention to:

  • User interface and ease of use.

  • Course creation and content management features.

  • Reporting and analytics capabilities.

  • Mobile-friendliness.

  • Integration options (e.g., with your association website or CRM).

  • Support and training resources provided by the vendor.

4. Consider User Experience:

The LMS should provide an intuitive and engaging user experience for both administrators and members. Members should easily navigate the platform, access courses, and track their progress.

5. Content Delivery and Course Management:

Evaluate the LMS's capabilities for content creation and management. Consider how easy it is to upload and organize course materials, create quizzes and assessments, and track member progress.

6. Scalability:

Choose an LMS that can accommodate the expected growth of your association. Ensure it can handle an increasing number of members and courses without performance issues.

7. Customization and Branding:

Look for an LMS that allows you to customize the platform's appearance and branding to align with your association's identity. This helps create a seamless member experience.

8. Integration and Compatibility:

Consider how well the LMS integrates with your association's existing software systems, such as your website, CRM, and email marketing tools. Seamless integration can save time and reduce data entry.

9. Support and Training:

Assess the level of support and training resources provided by the LMS vendor. Consider factors like customer support responsiveness, available documentation, and training options for your staff.

10. Pricing and Licensing:

Understand the pricing structure of the LMS, including any setup fees, subscription costs, and potential additional charges for features or user seats. Ensure it fits within your budget.

11. Data Security and Compliance:

Check if the LMS complies with data privacy and security regulations. This is especially important if your association handles sensitive member data.

12. Member Feedback:

If possible, seek feedback from potential LMS users within your association. Their input can help ensure that the chosen LMS meets their needs and expectations.

13. Pilot Testing:

Consider running a pilot program with a small group of members to test the selected LMS before fully implementing it. This allows you to identify any issues and make necessary adjustments.

Choosing the right LMS for association member training requires careful consideration of your specific needs and a thorough evaluation of available options. Take your time to assess the features, usability, and support offered by different LMS providers to make an informed decision that aligns with your association's goals and objectives.

About LMS Portals

At LMS Portals, we provide our clients and partners with a SaaS-based, multi-tenant learning management system that allows you to launch a dedicated training environment (a portal) for each of your unique audiences.

The system includes built-in, SCORM-compliant course authoring software that provides a drag and drop engine to enable most anyone to build engaging courses quickly and easily.

We also offer a complete library of ready-made courses, covering most every aspect of corporate training and employee development.

If you choose to, you can create Learning Paths to deliver courses in a logical progression and add structure to your training program. The system also supports Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and provides tools for social learning.

Together, these features make the LMS Portals platform the ideal solution for your association member training programs.

Contact us today to get started or visit our Partner Program pages

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