Almost all associations offer learning opportunities to members. But very few do much beyond programming courses or packaging content in books. Very few actually help members become effective learners. Yet, research has shown that many of our members aren’t skilled learners and that learning becomes more effective when individuals engage in several coordinated activities:
(1) reflecting on current practice to establish professional direction and goals
(2) identifying the gap between current and desired/needed knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)
(3) developing a learning plan based on identified gaps
(4) selecting and participating in learning activities that address goals and targeted KSAs
(5) evaluating how/if learning has been integrated into practice and what progress has been made in meeting professional goals
In what ways does your association help members become better learners? Do you:
- Offer self-assessments to help them identify their learning needs?
- Have a searchable database of learning activities tagged by topic, activity type, learning level, and/or location, to help them locate relevant activities? Here's an example.
- If you have certification with recertification, do you simply mandate CE or do you provide certificants with tools to help them develop, implement, and evaluate learning plans?
I've got a short e-guide called Helping Members Learn that focuses on how to develop self-assessment tools that I'd be happy to provide to you, as an association executive, if you'll agree to provide feedback on how to make it better (I'm planning to revise it and make it more comprehensive). Send an e-mail to [email protected] and I'll e-mail the PDF to you.
Associations can and should play an important role in providing support and tools to help members become more effective learners. Programming education just isn’t enough.