Integrated Learning Software Helps Continuing Education Providers Grow Smarter
Many benefits of software integration are self-evident. For instance, would you rather:
- Use six different software applications to complete six different tasks, or
- Complete those same six tasks with one application?
All else being equal, handling multiple tasks with one piece of software is easier for everyone. You can finish work faster and communicate more seamlessly with colleagues, learners, and vendors. Compared to information silos – where different process and data reside with different people using different software – fully integrated software helps continuing education (CE) providers work more efficiently.
But working smarter is the tip of the iceberg. Integrating processes and tasks also helps you grow smarter and improve learner satisfaction.
All CE providers depend on legacy infrastructure
Learner and activity data, public-facing websites, enduring or journal-based content… Some components of your learner experience are static. They’ve got to remain with you no matter what software you use to build and deliver activities:
- You need legacy learner data to plan meetings, re-issue certificates, and make various administrative decisions.
- You need legacy activity data to gauge the overall success of your education programs.
- You need a public-facing website through which learners can log in to view personal details or access information; it also helps you showcase your brand.
- You need to deliver enduring or journal-based content in common formats, like PDF or MP4 video, and/or provide recordings of completed webinars.
In a siloed environment, dealing with all of this information introduces enormous administrative hassles. Case in point: The American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Before moving to a fully integrated learning management system, the otherwise simple procedure of obtaining a certificate eluded the AAN’s continuing medical education (CME) learners.
“I used to get lots of questions from learners about how to obtain a certificate after testing,” said Patty Baskin, Executive Editor for Neurology Journals at the AAN.
Like many CE providers, the AAN relied on a siloed process. Certificate-generating tools were the domain of AAN administrators. Learners had access to journal content, but they couldn’t view or print certificates after reading articles and completing post-tests. After integrating those processes with a single application, things improved.
“It is rare now for members to request certificates,” Patty said. “Our members are less tempted to go elsewhere for CME.”
Lower call volume is a win for efficiency, but simplifying the certificate generation process also helps the AAN fulfill a more consequential goal – improving the learner experience.
A better learner experience, after all, can help CE providers broaden the appeal of their activities and boost participation over the long term. By integrating the processes required to manage legacy infrastructure, you enable new opportunities for growth.
Opportunities for continuing education providers
If you provide continuing education activities, opting for a fully integrated learning management system (LMS) offers a wealth of growth opportunities:
- Single sign-on streamlines learner tasks: What if learners only had to sign in one time to access all of their profile data and continuing education activities? Single sign-on (SSO) improves the learner experience by leaps and bounds, opening the door to increased participation and across-the-board satisfaction.
- Activity building templates support existing content formats: Don’t redesign your activities for a new LMS – just integrate them the way they are. You’ll keep providing the same valuable content through a point of entry that’s easier for learners to use. Again, this arrangement contributes to a more seamless learner experience.
- Legacy data import tools lend new value to old data: Make well informed decisions about CE activities by using modern reporting tools to interpret legacy data. Your LMS should enable you to import old data, regardless of format, and generate reports that lend new insights and help you build more valuable education programs.
- Learner interfaces enable self-service: Tasks like registering for activities, accessing content for completed activities, viewing test scores, and printing certificates or transcripts are things that learners can do themselves. Integrating those processes into a single, learner-facing interface empowers learners to manage their own CE experience and frees you from the tedium of manual administration.
- Richer reporting improves activities across the board: The more you know about your learners, the more effectively you can tailor CE activities to their needs. Data collection and reporting tools help you analyze the status quo and make value-added changes.
Valuable content, ample time to focus on educational achievement, greater learner satisfaction – these results make the overall CE experience better for everyone. And a better CE experience helps you expand the appeal of your activity offerings and increase participation.
In short, integrating disparate processes can help CE providers grow.
It’s one thing to embrace learning management technologies, but embracing a fully integrated learning management platform offers extraordinary value. You can take advantage of legacy infrastructure, all the while increasing the relevance and real-world impact of continuing education activities.
Everyone wins, especially your learners.