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Unlocking the Power of Technology and Data to Transform Member Experience of Education Associations

The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic is battering the education industry. The campus shutdowns led to a quick shift towards “remote learning”. It exposed the loose ends of digital inabilities Fall 2020 marked a tipping point as students and educators reviewed the striking contrast of classroom versus digital education.

The changing landscape has presented a key question for professional association leaders too:

How can we better support our members with the sudden shift of digital education?

There is no straightforward answer. Education-based associations are inherently complex, with a combination of stakeholders and members with unique needs that constantly change with the climate.

However, steps and initiatives can help in exploring better ways to create a better member-first experience. For example, leveraging relevant technologies and data to deliver relevant and meaningful digital experiences.

Unquestionably, the education sector is one of the least digitized and most people-intensive economic sectors.

This makes it clear that there is a better opportunity present for technology-driven disruption for education associations. We have outlined three effective ways the education associations’ leaders can make the most of cutting-edge and innovative technology to support their members:

Realign Website Content with a Dynamic Web Development Platform

Now more than ever, members are looking to their associations for additional resources and tools to help them navigate during unprecedented times. A robust email marketing and communications strategy is a great way to keep members updated on the latest news. Members depend on their associations to make timely and relevant content accessible. They are looking for a superior digital experience with better site mapping, innovative search, and a modern look.

While most professional association websites serve as a single hub of content, members often find it to be unorganized or lacking findability altogether. This creates a user-experience that is less than ideal. Providing dynamic website content increases the opportunity of making the member experience more relevant and intuitive.

Prioritize Digital UX for members staying home

With members worldwide still coping with the post-pandemic, education associations need to redefine member experience initiatives. With most people at home, it’s suddenly more vital than ever to get the digital experience tailor-made to suit their custom needs.

That means swiftly redirecting investments toward the right talents, processes, and technologies required for an impeccable digital user experience to deliver –

- Exceptional interaction design to enable member at home to get things done using the website.
- Meaningful impact that members get out of your websites match up with the effort and money they invest into the experience.
- Innovative and streamlined presentation that is easy and effective for members to use.

Take, American Geophysical Union, as an example. AGU provides a highly curated and personalized experience for its membership base that consists of 12 entirely different personas. With a design-centric website, AGU consolidated and reorganized over 60,00 pages of content – improving the on-site engagement and overall user-experience.

Education associations seeking to better their member experience need to focus on a web experience that prioritizes the users’ needs. Content that’s easy to find, consume and speaks to their members’ specific interests. As your association doubles down on digital UX, make sure to prioritize these -

- Scaling up your design team to up-level the UX of the website.
- Hiring outside help for innovation consultation and implementation.
- Evaluate your UX rigorously to make it even better.

Harness Data Analytics and Consolidation to Better Understand Your Members

Not all members are created equal. Nationwide, education association members are experiencing school closures at all grades and levels. Still, the impact is felt very differently across geographies and the socioeconomic statuses of the districts they represent.

For example, a member from Nebraska may be well equipped to handle remote teaching because they work in a district accustomed to school closures from snow days. However, South Florida members may be ill-equipped to take virtual learning and seek guidance and support from their association.

How can an education association understand its unique members better? Utilizing data.

This can be challenging — but it’s worth the effort. This can increase retention and graduation rates significantly. Analyzing the data, associations can make data-informed decisions while also personalizing the learning and pathways.

Making a Case for Data-Driven Decision Making

With the right database development solution to better manage, store and make sense of data, associations can understand their members at a deeper level. Newfound insights can turn to more-informed decision-making – from the resources to share or the best tools to deploy.

Data-driven decision-making helped Fordham University School of Law significantly improve their student experience across their entire lifecycle. Their new analytics framework, which spanned 12 different departments from student enrollment to academic performance, helped drive predictability and true transformation across the university.

Deliver Meaningful and Relevant Content Through Personalization

In this data-driven world, members tend to seek personalized experiences that are catered to their specific requirements. These “have it your way” member experiences have changed the way leaders think about education sectors. Members want to be approached with relevant information and courses at the right moment, not when it's convenient.

Combining member data and a thoughtfully crafted website will allow associations to personalize the member experience truly. Personalization is crucial to engaging members by showing them the most relevant content based on their geolocation or website engagement history.

Because each member is unique, personalization ensures that the members get an experience that completely aligns with their needs. A substitute teacher in an affluent community in Connecticut is likely to have a different agenda than a school principal in Georgia. The only way to meet members’ needs and exceed their expectations is through personalization.

Personalized experiences can:

- Increase membership engagement both offline and online
- Convert engaged members into loyal members

While members’ needs are evolving daily, association leaders must do their part to provide the most valuable resources their members need. As members' expectations continue to inch higher, leaders must evolve their strategies to address those demands. Embracing personalization is one of the best ways to bring that disruption.

Time for Education Associations to Prioritize Modern Technology and Data

These technological advancements make it evident for education associations to make technology and data a strategic priority. If appropriately initiated, these can enable associations to leap forward.

The education industry has already started to experience the significant shift of being technology-driven consolidation of market share and power. U.S. Department of Education data says that 2,500 colleges provide online courses, but the 100 most prominent players have 50% of the enrollment; making the digital capabilities crucial to surviving.

It’s never too late to give your members the support they need during these times. From improving their web experiences to helping them find the right content, education associations need to show up for the members by utilizing the power of technology and data.

Last year was a significant tipping point for education associations. Which associations will seize the moment to transform, and which ones will be left behind? Join us here to discuss more on how to make the most of technology and data to support your member.

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