Dan's Corner with Director of Training and Publications Dan Loomis

Looking to other associations for inspiration is a common way our customers find solutions to their challenges. And for good reason. Many of the training-related issues associations face are common across member-based organizations. But, good ideas can come from anywhere and associations may be able to find new inspiration by expanding their horizons. To find truly innovative ideas, it’s worth looking outside of your industry, as well. The airline industry provides a great example of finding inspiration in other places.

Finding Inspiration in Unusual Places

A number of years ago, Southwest Airlines set a goal to become the industry leader in on-time takeoffs. They knew that relying on standard industry procedures wouldn’t be enough to reach this high bar. Instead, Southwest decided to incorporate efficiencies from other industries that excelled in managing tight schedules. They found the inspiration they were looking for in NASCAR. The partnership resulted in new procedures the airline industry had never seen before. By looking at the underlying skills needed to improve a process, rather than focusing on how their peers manage the task, Southwest was able to solve their problem.

When we take this lesson and apply it to associations, a whole new world of potential sources of inspiration appear.

Finding Sources of Inspiration to Improve Classroom Learning

Instructor-led training is essential to the mission of the organizations we work with. Customers are always interested in learning what other associations are doing in this area and the results they are experiencing. With the example of Southwest in mind, where might we look for new ideas and leadership on this topic? No industry has a deeper history innovating the classroom experience than the education industry. The initiatives coming from higher education can provide associations with new ideas that will improve classroom learning.

One Higher Ed Initiative Worth Considering: Flipping the Classroom

“Flipping the Classroom” is a popular idea that is finding traction across the country’s college campuses. This concept takes what we consider to be the “traditional” teaching model and inverts it. For example, in the traditional teaching model, a new concept is introduced using an in-person, instructor-led lecture. The student then takes time outside of the classroom to complete activities (such as a workbook exercise) to reinforce the learning.

Flipping the classroom

In a flipped classroom, the student is introduced to the new concept by watching a pre-recorded lecture on her own. Classroom time is then devoted to interactive group learning. Instructors can work individually with learners to cover concepts that need further explanation, and students can problem solve in groups or apply the lecture concepts to real-world scenarios. These activities deepen the student’s understanding and increase retention.

Flipping the classroom is just one example of a Higher Education initiative that could improve classroom learning for associations. Education, of course, isn’t the only industry with innovation to spare. When you think about the challenges that face your industry and association, which groups can you identify that excel in that area? How can you begin the conversation to work together?

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