To date, we’ve looked at the big picture of online CE and examined the early stages of the maturity curve. Next we’ll dive into the intermediate stages.
Online Live Events
Most commonly referred to as webcasts or webinars, these online live events only exist online. They do not have a live in-person audience. Instead they are produced in relative physical isolation and attendees join via the Internet. They allow both the presenter and the attendees to participate from the comfort and convenience of their home or office. Presenters and attendees don’t need to be in the same building, city or even state. Online live events often consist of slides and audio from a presenter but could also filmed in a studio or on-location (for example, a trial law course filmed in a courtroom).
Online live events are most common for stand-alone events, not complex conferences with multiple tracks or sessions.
Online On-Demand Events
Online on-demand events may or may not have an in-person audience. They are often recording of an online live event but can also be recordings of a live in-person event. Or they may recorded without a virtual audience for the exclusive purpose of on-demand. As an on-demand event, they can be viewed by the audience at any time and repeatedly. There is no limit on how many people could ultimately view the recording and thus the long-term return on investment is significant.
If your organization is offering online live or on-demand events, consider these ideas for elevating your online CE program even further.
- Commit to online events. While online events may be a common practice for your organization, it is easy to execute on them without a thorough or thought-out commitment to the approach. Discuss with your team members and together commit to an online event strategy for your organization. From there you can begin to identify and select the right content, communication and technology strategies for optimal success.
- Invest in a Continuing Education Management Solution (CEMS). Unlike the typical learning management system (LMS), a CEMS is designed to accommodate the unique needs of accredited content and learners who must maintain licenses and/or certification. Through time-tracking, interval testing and more, you can better certify the consumption of your online CE content.
- Reassess your pricing strategy. When planning an in-person event, your pricing is usually influenced by speaker, facility, AV and other physical costs. However as you move toward more online events, your costs will change and thus your pricing can too. You may be able to lower costs or increase your profit margins through on-demand events.
- Begin to think outside the lines. Traditionally, events are offered in a linear progression. To better serve your members though, begin to think of less linear, more personalized ways to deliver content. For example, if a member misses all questions on Topic A of the Course 1 quiz, the next CE they consume should be a review of Topic A, not Course 2.