ASSOCIATION E-LEARNINGMarch 2009                The State of the Sector                written by Jeff Cobb and Celisa Ste...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                              Copyright and Disclaimer                              The Fine Pr...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                              Table of Contents                              Association E-lear...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009   The Business Perspective | 37                              !   The Revenue Imperative 37    ...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009   !   E-learning Guidelines and Standards 68                              !   !    Key E-learn...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                              Executive Summary                              Association E-lear...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009   report suggest, however, that the individuals who      Web, social networks (25 percent, com...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009   much of a place in current association marketing                              strategies for...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                              Introduction to Association E-learning 2009                      ...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009   few limited instances, and with the permission of the interviewee, are the                  ...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                              The Overview                              Demographics, Purpose, ...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                                            region, state, or locality.                 begin u...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                              Purpose, Benefits, and Barriers                            learni...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                                For your organization, what are the three key benefits associate...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009   Concern about return on financial investment (41.6                                           ...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009                              Satisfaction with E-learning                                     ...
ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009   Very satisfied organizations were also much more                    percent of very dissatisfi...
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Association e learning-2009_v1

  1. 1. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNINGMarch 2009 The State of the Sector written by Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele published by Tagoras www.tagoras.com info@tagoras.com 800.867.2046
  2. 2. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Copyright and Disclaimer The Fine Print © 2009 Tagoras, Inc. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. ***** Purchase of Association E-learning 2009: State of the Sector entitles the purchaser to use of a single copy of this document. If the purchaser is an organization, Tagoras authorizes the reproduction of no more than five copies of this document, including electronically transmitting such copies, for use solely by employees of the purchaser. Quoting from this report on a limited basis for the purposes of creating articles, blog posts, and other publications is considered within the realm of “fair use.” Other than as provided for above, no portion of the material copyrighted herein may be reprinted or published in any form without the prior written consent of Tagoras, Inc. To purchase additional copies of this document, please visit http://www.tagoras.com/catalog/association-e-learning-2009.html. ***** The contents of this document are based on data gathered from a variety of sources. While we deem these sources, including subjective estimates and opinions of the report authors, to be reliable, Tagoras does not guarantee the accuracy of the document’s contents and expressly disclaims any liability by reason of inaccurate source materials. 2!COPYRIGHT AND DISCLAIMER
  3. 3. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Table of Contents Association E-learning 2009: State of the Sector Executive Summary | 6 Introduction to Association E-learning 2009 | 9 The Overview | 11 ! Participant Demographics 11 ! ! Interviews 12 ! Purpose, Benefits, and Barriers 13 ! Satisfaction with E-learning 16 ! ! Satisfaction in Specific Areas 17 The Operational Perspective | 19 ! Products: What’s Offered 19 ! ! E-learning Products and Services 19 ! ! The Appeal of Webinars 20 ! ! Vignettes and Videos 21 ! ! Process Examples 22 ! Personnel and Tools: Who Gets It Done and How 23 ! ! Job Titles 23 ! ! Adequacy of Resources 24 ! ! Where to Turn for Help 25 ! ! Departments Responsible for E-learning 28 ! ! Prevalence of Outsourcing 28 ! ! The Cost of Expertise 30 ! ! Authoring Tools 31 ! ! Instructional Designers 31 ! Summary 34 ! Trends and Predictions 34 ! Questions to Consider 35 3!TABLE OF CONTENTS
  4. 4. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 The Business Perspective | 37 ! The Revenue Imperative 37 ! Strategy 38 ! Return on Investment 39 ! The Impact of the Economy 40 ! Product 41 ! ! Continuing Education and Certification 43 ! Pricing 46 ! ! Pricing Across Industries 46 ! ! Pricing and Formats 46 ! ! Pricing and Age of Program 49 ! ! Pricing Strategy and Models 50 ! ! Discounts 51 ! Distribution 53 ! ! Market Penetration 53 ! Promotion 54 ! ! Relationship with Marketing Department 56 ! Summary 58 ! Trends and Predictions 58 ! Questions to Consider 59 The Technology Perspective | 60 ! End User Concerns 60 ! Webinar Platforms 61 ! Learning Management Systems 63 ! ! LMS and LCMS Packages 65 ! ! Gray Areas 65 ! E-learning and AMSes 66 ! ! LMS/AMS Integration 67 4!TABLE OF CONTENTS
  5. 5. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 ! E-learning Guidelines and Standards 68 ! ! Key E-learning Standards in Brief 69 ! Social Media and E-learning 70 ! ! Social Media Tools 72 ! ! Associations Speak About Social Media 73 ! ! Providers Speak About Social Media 74 ! Summary 75 ! Trends and Predictions 75 ! Questions to Consider 75 The State of the Section | 77 Appendix A: Participating Organizations | 84 Appendix B: Survey Data | 85 Appendix C: Survey Methodology | 100 Appendix D: About Tagoras | 102 Case Studies ! Building Internal Capacity—and Interest: Community Associations Institute 27 ! Cultivating Success: Southern Building Material Association 36 ! More Demand for “Fresher,” Shorter Topics: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans 45 ! Certification Creates Demand; E-learning Assists: National Air Duct Cleaners Association 52 ! Creating New Value—Globally: SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings 62 ! Simple Satisfies (Association of Cable Communicators Chats) 71 5!TABLE OF CONTENTS
  6. 6. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Executive Summary Association E-learning 2009: State of the Sector Association E-learning 2009: State of the Sector respondents who indicated that represents a major effort to assess the state of e- their organizations will begin learning in the association market and provide using e-learning in the coming insight into how the role of e-learning in the sector six months, 75.5 percent are may evolve in the coming months and years. from organizations with annual budgets under $5 million, and At the core of the report is a survey of associations 32.7 percent are from conducted at the end of 2008. Nearly 500 organizations with budgets of organizations responded to the survey, providing less than $500,000. The largest extensive data about how they are using e-learning, cluster of these respondents (36 what tools and technologies they employ to create percent) also come from and deliver e-learning, and the business practices organizations with fewer than that support their e-learning initiatives. To 5 staff. This report supplement this data, the report authors conducted represents a in-depth interviews with 20 associations and 12 e- The Operational major effort learning technology and service providers to the Perspective to assess sector. the state of Most of the associations e-learning in surveyed or interviewed for the The Overview this report use a combination association Out of 488 responses to the survey, 61.1 percent of in-house and contract market. were from individuals who indicated their resources to produce their e- organizations are currently using e-learning. An learning offerings, and the additional 26.2 percent indicated they plan to start majority of those offerings take the form of live using e-learning within the coming 6 to 12 months, Webinars. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents and 12.7 percent indicated that they have no plans who currently use e-learning reported live Webinars to start using e-learning in the coming 12 months. as one of their delivery formats. Recorded Webinars (56 percent) and self-paced online courses (54.5 Not surprisingly, associations use e-learning mainly percent) followed in relatively distant second and to deliver professional development to members, third places. No other formats were nearly as and cost-effectiveness, convenience, and the ability popular, but a significant number of associations— to reach more learners were among the biggest 40.4 percent of survey respondents—do make use of benefits identified by survey respondents. Overall, member-only discussion boards. organizations report that they are more satisfied (78.8 percent) than not (21.6 percent) with their e- With respect to developing e-learning, organizations learning initiatives. The only specific area in which that currently have programs are about evenly split these organizations report being somewhat more on whether they do (43.5 percent) or do not (45.9 dissatisfied (35.5 percent) than satisfied (33.5 percent) make use of professional instructional percent) is in revenue generation from their designers. Among the tools that organizations use offerings. to develop e-learning, Microsoft PowerPoint tops the list—not surprising since it is often the basis for While the survey data indicate that there is a Webinar presentations as well as on-demand somewhat greater tendency for larger associations courses. already to have embraced e-learning, there is clearly significant e-learning activity among smaller In most cases, association e-learning initiatives are organizations. Additionally, it appears that smaller managed by an education department (which, at organizations may lead the growth in new small organizations, may mean a single person who programs in the sector for the coming year. Among wears many hats). Interviews conducted for this 6!EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  7. 7. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 report suggest, however, that the individuals who Web, social networks (25 percent, combining public wind up with responsibility for e-learning programs and private sites) came out on top, followed by often do not come from an education background. blogs (16.5 percent) and wikis (10.1 percent). All Moreover, there was a general sense among three tools—but particularly social networks (32.1 interviewees that opportunities for networking and percent) and blogs (25.7 percent)—show stronger knowledge-sharing among peers in the sector is interest among respondents planning to implement lacking. e-learning. The Technology Perspective The Business Perspective Among the Webinar platforms used by Most of the organizations interviewed for this organizations, WebEx (27 percent) and report along with the vast majority of survey GoToMeeting (23 percent) lead the pack with respondents currently using e-learning (86 percent) Microsoft Live Meeting (14 percent) a distant third. or planning to use e-learning (77.4 percent) charge or plan to charge for some or all of their offerings. Just under half (49.1 percent) of the respondents The average price per content hour for that currently offer e-learning report using a organizations currently offering e-learning is US learning management system (LMS) or are planning $56.79 while the most common level of discount for to within the next 12 months. Among those member course purchases was from 10 to 19 organizations, the majority (71.1 percent) report that percent. they either have integrated or plan to integrate the LMS with their association management system Interviews conducted for this report as well as a (AMS). brief follow-on survey among the original survey participants suggest that most organizations do not Knowledge of and adherence have a formal e-learning strategy in place or a On average, to common e-learning formal approach to pricing their offerings. Only 30.9 organizations guidelines and standards percent of respondents to the follow-on survey using e- appears to be quite low in the reported having a formal, documented e-learning learning reach sector. Adherence to the 18 percent of strategy, and only 20 percent indicated that their Shareable Content Object organizations have a formal, documented process their Reference Model (SCORM), for setting prices. membership base with the most common set of e- their offerings. learning standards, was On average, organizations using e-learning reach considered very important or approximately 18 percent of their membership base absolutely necessary by only with their offerings. Most organizations provide 27 percent of survey some form of credit—for example, continuing respondents currently using education units or a certificate—to their learners. e-learning. With respect to marketing methods, e-mail Social media is attracting marketing and word of mouth lead the pack by a some interest in the significant margin. Among organizations currently association e-learning offering e-learning, 93 percent report e-mail as community but leaves much either very important or absolutely necessary, and room for growth. The 83.8 percent report word of mouth as very dominant social tool in both important or absolutely necessary. The next closest current (32.7 percent) and contender is banner ads on the organizations’ own planned (45 percent) e- Web sites, which 49.8 percent report as very learning initiatives is important or absolutely necessary. Notably, pay-per- discussion forums. Among click advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), the tools that many associate and promotional Webcasts—all mainstays of current most closely with the social Internet marketing practices—do not appear to have 7!EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  8. 8. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 much of a place in current association marketing strategies for e-learning. The State of the Sector E-learning has arrived in the association sector but remains immature. A range of factors—from the current state of the economy to technology advances to the rise of new generations—point to growth and to a clear opportunity for e-learning to transition into a more significant, more strategic part of the mix of services associations provide to members. As this transition occurs, it is likely to be accompanied by the following: • Growth in implementation of learning management systems and integration of these with association management systems • An increase in the amount of on-demand educational content offered by organizations • An increased focus on instructional design along with development of in-house instructional design capabilities or use of contractors • Relatively slow adoption of social media for e- learning purposes until organizations develop strategies and business models for products that integrate social media with more traditional content • An increase in competition that will, in turn, be a significant factor in the adoption of more sophisticated marketing practices New, relevant resources and a more cohesive professional network for e-learning in the sector may be the most valuable byproducts of these changes in association e-learning. 8!EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  9. 9. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Introduction to Association E-learning 2009 About This Report To the best of our knowledge, Association E-learning It is important to note that we were purposely 2009: State of the Sector, represents the first major broad in defining e-learning. In our experience, a effort to assess the state of e-learning in the significant number of organizations limit the term e- association market and provide insight into how the learning to self-paced online courses and do not use role of e-learning in the sector may evolve in the it for Webinars, Webcasts, or other forms of coming years.† educational content delivery online. In an attempt to ensure that survey participants took into account Our hope is that the information here will be useful all forms of online education, the following in providing points of reference and perspective to definition was presented prior to asking organizations planning for e-learning initiatives or organizations whether they use e-learning to deliver hoping to grow their current initiatives. We view it education: as a starting point for continuing, in-depth research about e-learning in the sector that we plan to E-learning, also known as computer-based conduct over the coming years. training or online distance education, refers to computer-enabled learning carried out by At the core of the report is a survey of associations individuals or groups outside of a physical conducted from November 20, 2008, to December classroom, either over the Internet or an internal 19, 2008. We received 488 responses to this survey. network. There are many methods of e-learning Out of these responses, 61.1 percent were from such as Webcasts, self-paced tutorials, podcasts, individuals who indicated that their organization is facilitated discussions, etc., but for the purpose of currently using e-learning. An additional 26.2 this survey, any activity in which a user receives percent indicated they plan to start using e-learning instruction via a computer counts as e-learning. within the coming 6 to 12 months, while 12.7 percent indicated they have no plans to start using To add to the data collected through the survey, we e-learning in the coming 12 months. also conducted phone or e-mail interviews with 20 associations and 12 providers of e-learning technologies and services to the sector. These interviews were conducted with the promise of anonymity so that interviewees could feel comfortable speaking as openly as possible. Only in 12.7% 12.7% Does your organization currently using e-learning to deliver education? Over 60 percent of organizations surveyed currently use e-learning. 13.5% 61.1% Currently deliver e-learning Planning to deliver e-learning in next 6 months Planning to deliver e-learning in next 12 months No plans for e-learning for at least next 12 months † We conducted surveys focusing on e-learning in the broader nonprofit sector, including associations, from 2004 through 2006. The current report represents a continuation of those earlier efforts in many ways, but is also much more comprehensive. The 2004 through 2006 survey results are available, free of charge, at www.jeffthomascobb.com/writing. 9!INTRODUCTION
  10. 10. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 few limited instances, and with the permission of the interviewee, are the sources of quotations or other information revealed in the report. Our Partial data from the frequent use of quotations from the interviews is purposeful—we heard online survey is from many interviewees that they do not have sense of what their peers included throughout are doing or where to go to find out what other organizations are doing. this report. See Our hope is that the extensive use of quotations will help a voice for e- Appendix B for the raw survey results. learning in the sector emerge. In addition to quoting frequently from the interviews, we have also The chapters on the crafted brief case studies to highlight the efforts of some of the operational, business, organizations we interviewed. These were done with the organizations’ and technology permission, and we tried to be as diverse as possible in selecting the perspectives end with organizations. The case studies span a range of industries and feature a summary of trends associations of varying size and geographic focus. Our intention is to and a list of questions continue to mine case studies from the more than 300 pages of interview for organizations to ask themselves. transcripts we have collected as well as from our ongoing conversation with organizations and to share these, as they become available, with purchasers of the report. Finally, the two authors of this report have each worked in e-learning for more than a decade and have worked specifically with associations for the better part of that time. Throughout the report we provide our own analysis of the information collected through the survey and the interviews, and we draw on our own experience to offer perspectives that may not be readily apparent from the data. Our approach to doing this is relatively conservative, based on the limitations naturally imposed by a non-probability survey (see the chapter “Methodology”), but even more importantly, on our sense that we are still in the early stages of e-learning in the association sector—a sector that is, by its nature, quite diverse and fragmented—and that broad conclusions must be put forward cautiously. The report is structured into 10 sections: 1.The executive summary 2.This introduction 3.An overview that discusses demographic data, the purposes of association e-learning, the barriers to and benefits of e-learning, and satisfaction with e-learning 4.A chapter on operations and e-learning that looks at what’s produced, who produces it, using what process, and with what tools 5.A chapter that takes the business perspective, looking at the strategy that drives e-learning initiatives, expenses and income, marketing, and competition 6.A chapter on e-learning technology, including the end user point of view and the organizational standpoint 7.The state of e-learning in the association sector based on our analysis of the survey data and interviews 8.A discussion of the methodology used for collecting the data that is the basis of this report 9.A series of appendices that provide a list of participating organizations, the raw online survey data (parts of which are cited throughout the report), the survey methodology, and information about Tagoras (publisher of this report) and Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele (authors of this report) Our sincere hope is this report proves useful to associations as they assess their e-learning initiatives or contemplate throwing their hats in the e-learning ring. 10!INTRODUCTION
  11. 11. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 The Overview Demographics, Purpose, Benefits, Barriers, and Satisfaction This section provides demographic 0.5% data, discusses the purposes for 5.3% 3.4% which associations undertake e- 5.0% learning, looks at the perceived 14.5% benefits of and barriers to e- learning, and analyzes associations’ 10.3% satisfaction with e-learning initiatives. 11.9% Participant Demographics 11.9% As the demographic data provided at the end of this document indicate, responses to the survey were distributed across a broad range of organizations—from those 37.2% with a very small staff and relatively small membership base to those with more than 250 staff What is your members and budgets greater than organization’s annual budget? Less than $100,000 $100,001-$500,000 $50 million per year. Most organizations $500,001-$1,000,000 $1,000,001-$5,000,000 had budgets between $1 million $5,000,001-$10,000,000 $10,000,001-$25,000,000 The largest clusters of survey and $5 million. $25,000,001-$50,000,000 $50,000,001-$100,000,000 More than $100,000,000 respondents in the overall range were nationally focused organizations (39.7 percent), organizations with annual budgets between $1 million and $5 million (37.2 percent), and 1.8% organizations with staff of between 1 and 5 7.8% individuals (26.7 percent). The most common membership size was between 1,000 and 26.8% 5,000 individuals. 19.8% Which best describes the Out of the group of respondents that geographic focus of your indicated current use of e-learning, the organization (i.e., which best largest cluster was also nationally focused 4.3% indicates the areas (48.8 percent), had budgets between $1 in which you actively solicit million and $5 million (39.4 percent), and membership)? had staff of between 6 and 10 individuals Organizations with a 39.8% national focus were the biggest group. (17.2 percent). The most common membership size was 1,000 or less. Single community or municipality focus Overall, organizations indicating they are Multiple community focus in one state currently using e-learning were more likely Single state or province focus than the group as whole to be nationally or Multi-state or multi-province focus internationally focused (75.7 percent versus National focus International focus 66.6 percent) as opposed to focused on a 11!THE OVERVIEW
  12. 12. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 region, state, or locality. begin using e-learning within either 6 or 12 months. The largest They were also more These groups tend to manage smaller associations, groups of survey likely to have annual and thus their movement into e-learning tends to respondents were budgets greater than $5 support the idea we will see significant growth in from nationally million (42.5 percent new initiatives by small organizations. focused versus 33 percent); have organizations The great majority of survey respondents indicated more than 10,000 with annual that their organization has been using e-learning to individual members (50.2 budgets between deliver education for more than a year (83.7 $1 million and $5 percent versus 41.5 percent); and have more percent). A relatively small but still notable number million, 1 to 5 staff than 10 staff (67.6 percent (15.6 percent) of respondents reported using e- people, and 1,000 to 5,000 individual versus 55 percent). learning for more than five years. Most (64.6 members. percent) of the respondents currently offering e- While there is a learning indicated that they do offer some form of somewhat greater credit for e-learning. (See the chapter “The Business tendency for larger Perspective” for discussion of credit and e-learning.) associations already to have embraced e- INTERVIEWS learning, there is clearly The organizations we interviewed in follow-up to significant e-learning the online survey were less diverse from the activity among smaller standpoint of geographic focus. All but one regional organizations. It appears association serving four states were nationally or that small organizations internationally focused. Nonetheless the group was may lead the growth in quite diverse in terms of industries served, size of new programs in the staff, size and type (i.e., individuals versus sector for the coming year. Among respondents who organizations) of membership base, and experience indicated that their organization will begin using e- with e-learning. learning in the coming six months, 75.5 percent are from organizations with annual budgets under $5 The providers we interviewed were also quite million, and 32.7 percent are from organizations diverse, ranging from Webinar service providers, with budgets of less than $500,000. The largest like KRM, CommPartners, and Boston cluster of these respondents (36 percent) also came Conferencing, to high-end custom course producers from organizations with fewer than five staff. like Enspire Learning, to learning management system providers like LearnSomething, Certilearn, Similarly, 82.3 percent of the respondents who and Results Direct. Each of the providers was able indicated their organization will start using e- to offer a unique perspective based on their learning within 12 months come from organizations approach to e-learning and the types of clients with annual budgets of less than $5 million, and served. 43.4 percent of respondents report fewer than five staff members. Finally, 17 out of the 42 association management company representatives who responded to the survey indicated that they will 15.6% 16.3% How long has your organization been using e-learning? The majority of respondents were from organizations that had been using e-learning for one to five years. 32.9% 35.3% Less than 1 year 1 to 2 years 2 to 5 years More than 5 years 12!THE OVERVIEW
  13. 13. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Purpose, Benefits, and Barriers learning for advocacy and issue education. Respondents in this group were more likely to be As part of our survey, we asked respondents to from associations with a large membership base— provide input on their organization’s purposes for 40.8 percent were from organizations with more using e-learning as well as some of the benefits and than 10,000 members as opposed to only 24.9 barriers they experienced. percent of the all respondents being from an Not surprisingly, most respondents using or organization with more than 10,000 members. planning to use e-learning indicated professional Cost-effectiveness, convenience, and the ability to development for members and non-members as reach more learners were among the biggest their primary and secondary purposes. A much benefits respondents associated with e-learning— smaller portion use e-learning for staff training, among both our survey participants and our though this may be less a comment on e-learning interviewees. More than 70 percent of survey than on the amount of training available to respondents who are using or planning to use e- association staff in general. learning indicated each of these benefits. (See the We also asked organizations to indicate whether chart on the following page.) they used e-learning for training chapters or Somewhat surprisingly, in our opinion, the ability to volunteers or as a tool for advocacy and issue generate revenue ranked significantly lower. It was education. Given that an organization may or may selected by just over 30 percent of those already not have chapters, make extensive use of using e-learning and by just under 30 percent of volunteers, or engage in advocacy, we found it those planning to use e-learning in the coming 12 interesting that a relatively sizable group of months. It is possible that a significant number of respondents indicated that they use or plan to use e- 92.6% Professional development for members 86.5% 64.2% Professional development for non-members 44.4% 35.5% Training for staff 20.6% 30.7% Advocacy and issue education 26.2% For what purposes does your organization 20.3% use or plan to Training for volunteers use e-learning? 26.2% Check all that apply. Most respondents 19.9% indicated Training for affiliated organizations or chapters professional 27.0% development for members and non-members as their primary and 8.4% secondary Other Current e-learning purposes. 7.9% Planned e-learning 13!THE OVERVIEW
  14. 14. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 For your organization, what are the three key benefits associated with e-learning? Please check only the three that your organization considers most important. Cost-effectiveness, convenience, and the ability to reach more learners were among the biggest benefits respondents associated with e-learning. 78.9% 78.2% 78.2% 74.7% 73.0% 72.6% Current e-learning Planned e-learning 31.5% 29.0% 23.4% 21.5% 17.7% 13.5% 12.1% 8.3% 3.5% 3.2% 3.2% 3.1% Other Reduction of risk by diversifying product line Ease of tracking continuing education for learners Ability to generate revenues Ability to reach more learners Opportunity for learners to direct their own learning Convenience for learners Cost-effectivness versus other modes Instructional effectiveness versus other modes respondents equated the combination of a top-three benefit by many respondents. We expect convenience and the ability to reach more learners to see risk reduction become more commonly with more revenue, and thus did not single this out recognized as a strategic benefit of e-learning over as a top-three benefit. Another explanation may be the coming year, particularly given the current that, while most organization do need to break even economic environment. Additionally, as on their e-learning initiatives, e-learning is not organizations become more sophisticated in their envisioned as a significant overall revenue management of e-learning—and learning contributor to the organization. management systems gain more traction in the market—we also expect to see increased recognition It is also noteworthy that neither risk reduction nor of tracking as a significant operational benefit of ease of tracking continuing education were rated as implementing e-learning. 14!THE OVERVIEW
  15. 15. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Concern about return on financial investment (41.6 We intended for organizations not currently using e- percent) as well as about the technology skills of learning to answer this question about perceived end users (45.5 percent) were among the major barriers, but, unfortunately, responses were not barriers to pursuing e-learning among respondents collected owing to a technical glitch. It seems with programs already in place. Notably, there reasonable to assume that these organizations seems to be significantly less concern about would perceive the same types of barriers, though it technology skills among those who plan to offer e- is also likely that more respondents from this group learning (35.3 percent), perhaps reflecting an overall would indicate no perceived need for e-learning. sense that end users are becoming more comfortable with both the Web and with e-learning. Concern We explore the question of staff resources more in about financial return is only slightly lower (39.5 the chapter “The Operational Perspective” and percent), but clearly this group is concerned about discuss the issue of end user technology skills in the amount of staff resources that will be required to “The Technology Perspective.” develop e-learning (57.1 percent). 57.1% Current e-learning 46.2% 45.5% Planned e-learning 41.6% 40.3% 39.5% 38.7% 35.3% 33.6% 33.3% 33.0% 26.2% 24.4% 21.5% 20.4% 17.6% 8.2% 7.6% 7.5% 6.5% 6.5% 5.7% 5.0% 4.2% 4.2% 3.4% Resistance from current trainers or facilitators No perceived need for e-learning Staff time required to support e-learning Fear that stakeholders won’t use e-learning Other Staff time required to develop e-learning Lack of management buy-in Lack of expertise in e-learning Concern about effectiveness of e-learning Concern about end users’ technical skills Concern that costs would exceed non-financial return Concern that costs would exceed financial return Lack of funding necessary to implement e-learning What are the three biggest barriers your organization has encountered or expects to encounter while developing e-learning initiatives? Please check only the three that your organization considers most important. Concern about return on financial investment and the technology skills of end users were among the major barriers to pursuing e-learning among respondents with programs already in place. 15!THE OVERVIEW
  16. 16. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Satisfaction with E-learning 5.6% 21.6% 16.0% Overall, how satisfied are you with your current e-learning initiatives? Most associations reported they are either somewhat satisfied or very satisfied. We asked respondents from organizations who have implemented e-learning to indicate their level of satisfaction. On the whole, experiences with e-learning seem to be much more positive than negative. Most associations report that they are either somewhat satisfied (56.8 percent) or very satisfied with their e-learning 56.8% initiatives. Only a small portion (5.6 percent) reported being very dissatisfied. Very satisfied overall Somewhat satisfied overall Somewhat dissatisfied overall Through further analysis of the data, we were able to identify ways Very dissatisfied overal in which organizations that are very satisfied with their e-learning initiatives most differ from the group that is very dissatisfied. Very satisfied organizations had the largest percentage of respondents who indicated that their association had been using e-learning for more than five years. These organizations were significantly more likely than their dissatisfied counterparts to offer some form of credit for e-learning, to charge for all of their e-learning offerings, and to indicate ease of tracking as a benefit of e-learning. All respondents 15.6% Very satisfied Have used e-learning for more than 5 years 25.9% Very dissatisfied 14.3% 8.3% Indicate ease of tracking as benefit 16.7% 0% 16.1% E-learning does not have to be self-sustaining 18.5% 7.1% How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with 54.5% your current e- Use self-paced courses 66.7% learning 35.7% initiatives in terms of these 42.3% specific items? Very satisfied Charge for all e-learning 53.7% organizations 35.7% were more likely than their dissatisfied 35.4% counterparts to No credit offered for e-learning 35.3% offer some form 57.1% of credit for e- learning, to charge for all of 32.7% their e-learning Use discussion forums 42.3% offerings, and to indicate ease of 7.7% tracking as a benefit of e- 34.4% learning. Use LMS 46.3% 14.3% 16!THE OVERVIEW
  17. 17. ASSOCIATION E-LEARNING 2009 Very satisfied organizations were also much more percent of very dissatisfied respondents indicated it. likely than very dissatisfied organizations to use a The very dissatisfied group was most concerned learning management system (LMS)—the very that costs for e-learning would exceed financial dissatisfied group had the lowest percentage of return. LMS users out of any of the satisfaction groupings. The very satisfied organizations are much more In general, the very satisfied organizations appear likely to make use of discussion boards in their e- to be more mature in their e-learning. They have learning, and their use of self-paced courses is been at it longer (more than five years in many significantly higher than that of very dissatisfied instances), they have implemented more organizations as well as the total pool of sophisticated technology (an LMS), and embraced a respondents. Use of self-paced courses by very more diverse range of offerings (self-paced courses satisfied organizations is on par with their use of and discussion boards along with Webinars). Webinars (66.7 percent for each). Very dissatisfied Finally, they tend to charge for their e-learning and organizations, on the other hand, report the lowest offer credit much more than their very dissatisfied percentage of self-paced course usage (35.7 percent) counterparts. and the highest percentage of real-time Webinar SATISFACTION IN SPECIFIC AREAS usage (78.6 percent). We also asked survey respondents to indicate their Very satisfied organizations show a high amount of levels of satisfactions with respect to specific to concern about end user technology skills. While 45.5 specific aspects of their e-learning initiatives. percent of the total respondent pool indicated this as one of their top three barriers encountered while The only specific area in which overall implementing e-learning, 52.8 percent of very dissatisfaction (35.5 percent) seems to outweigh satisfied respondents indicated it, and only 35.7 overall satisfaction (33.5 percent) is revenue How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your current e-learning initiatives in terms of these specific items? Very Somewhat Neutral Somewhat Very Not Satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Dissatisfied Applicable Usage (e.g., number of course 13.2% 33.3% 10.7% 27.2% 13.6% 2.5% enrollments) Revenue (e.g., from course sales) 7.9% 25.6% 16.9% 24.8% 10.7% 14.5% The financial cost of creating the 12.9% 28.8% 27.9% 17.5% 8.8% 4.6% initiatives The financial cost of supporting and 14.6% 27.1% 27.1% 18.8% 8.3% 4.6% maintaining the initiatives The staff time required to develop the 7.4% 33.9% 24.4% 24% 7.4% 3.3% initiatives The staff time required to maintain the 9.2% 32.9% 29.2% 19.6% 6.3% 3.3% initiatives Feedback from participants in the 23.8% 38.1% 17.6% 14.6% 3.3% 2.9% initiatives 17!THE OVERVIEW

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