Don’t Be Bullied By Your Budget!

When it comes to your association’s continuing education training materials, the best solution for how to present your content, in print or digital formats, is … both.

In our work with associations, we have found that some training professionals struggle when deciding how to deliver continuing education training materials to learners. Traditionally, printed course materials were used and expected by class participants. Lately, however, many learners want online access to content so they can study on the go or read up on the subject before class starts.

Numerous studies suggest that reading printed materials is better for learner experience and retention. On the other hand, you have heard that young professionals in particular prefer to read on a screen. (Our survey of millennials busts that myth! Read more here.)

If you don’t offer printed materials, it will appear that your association is unaware of—or worse, unconcerned about—the research that reading paper books is better for retention. If you don’t put your CE training materials online, though, the association seems out of touch with technology and uninterested in providing a convenience to learners. This is the definition of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

You see the central conflict here, and it is baffling. Unless, that is, you consider the continuing education materials to be the most critical aspect of your training program. More important than snagging the very best venue, and more important than providing the most expensive snacks. Because training materials should hold that place in your program, and maybe it’s time that your budget reflected that.

Look, we’re not suggesting that you hold your seminar in some back alley so you can afford to give online access to course books. No one wants your learners to go without lunch because glossy covers look better than matte on the workbook.

Just consider that your training program’s primary goal is delivering knowledge to learners, and anything that doesn’t serve that purpose should be secondary. What’s most important? Hiring quality instructors and providing continuing education materials.

Once you align your budget and your goals, it becomes clear that increasing your spend on your continuing education training materials isn’t just possible—it’s necessary!

The best way to present your course materials whichever way your learners want to consume them. In other words, both print and digital are mandatory.

Our New Training White Paper Is Available – Download It Now!

Providing learners with continuing education training materials—which can include printing books, fulfilling orders, managing inventory, giving online access to materials, and more—can be a daunting task. Many organizations find it helps to partner with a vendor that can support them along the way, offering suggestions and giving advice as they tackle the complexities that the process brings.

Say, for example, your industry makes a lot of content updates. If you stick with conventional, large print runs, you might end with a lot of outdated books—which translates to a lot of wasted money. A trusted provider might suggest that you switch to print on demand to save hassle and money.

When an organization’s training program moves from a domestic market to include other countries as well, we have found that this is a good time to consider finding a partner to handle order fulfillment. International shipping can be tricky; it can be easier to work with a company that has experience with shipping regulations and tariffs around the globe than to take on these tasks yourself.

To learn more about these issues and many others about providing learners with continuing education training materials, we invite you to download our new white paperSimplify with an All-in-One Partner: Best Practices for Continuing Education Training Materials.

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We are committed to providing you with relevant, compelling content, from posts on this blog to white papers to email newsletters. What would you like to read about? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Anatomy of Corporate Training: Delivering Continuing Education Materials

The human body is made of many interdependent systems that work together to help you get through your day. Likewise, many components go into providing continuing education materials for your training courses.

  • Printed training materials are like the cardiovascular system—they are the lifeblood of your training program. Course books, learning guides, and exams are at the heart of helping students learn and retain information presented in your classes. Many studies support the idea that reading printed materials is a better match for deep, intensive reading of important information.
  • Formatting and design are part of the process and can be represented by the respiratory system. Good design and sleek formatting breathe life into content, making it easier to read, with a proper flow and clean appearance. Branding is consistent when colors, logos, and other elements are handled by the same organization that puts your materials on press.
  • Online training materials are akin to the nervous system. Do your students have a trigger finger, ready to tap on a smartphone or a computer mouse to receive your training content? If so, the content should be available there, where your learners spend so much of their time already.
  • Physical digital media (CDs, DVDs, and USBs) are the digestive system. Students can take home a USB, plug it in, and read content on a screen without having to be connected to the internet. This gives them an opportunity to really “take in” the information you presented in class, in their own time, on their own device.
  • Order fulfillment is best represented by the muscular system, and not just because it takes strength to move boxes of course books from our warehouse to your course site. Bringing your printed materials to your learners takes strength of a different kind, too—robust order systems that can handle the kind of customization each and every client deserves. Smaller muscle groups do important work, too, like kitting services, to make life easier for your instructors and your organization.
  • Inventory management, in closing, is the skeletal system. Imagine rows and rows of metal shelving, where printed training materials are managed, and you’ll understand why a skeleton is the image behind inventory. And make are no bones about it—managing your inventory in your office, while it becomes overrun with boxes stacked in every corner of floor space available, is a drag. When you trust a printing partner with the task you’ll lose the hassle without giving up control. With reports available to you 24/7, you’ll know the score.

Corporate training is a complex series of systems that, together, help your training program run smoothly and efficiently, just as the human body does. If the systems that help you deliver continuing education training content have been less than healthy lately, reach out to Omnipress for a consultation. We’ll have you back in tip-top shape in no time!

What We Can Learn About Training from Print Advertising

Learning, like many activities, has components in the real world as well as online counterparts. Navigating education in print and online still feels new to some people, and there’s a good reason for that. Reading print has been part of the human experience for a long time, while reading on a screen is relatively new. Each medium brings its own pros and cons to the table.

In a blog post published earlier this year, RealMatch.com discussed 5 Advantages to Print Advertising. Many parallels can be drawn between their conclusions about advertising and the benefits of printing your association training materials.

  1. Print carries gravitas: Besides Omnipress having Gravitas (Publications, as a client), print has a feeling of permanence and tangibility that screens have yet to capture. Printed materials feel more solid and valid. For best results, use online resources for a wider distribution and printed materials to signify staying power.
  2. Print is persuasive: In the advertising world, consumers are more likely to be swayed to buy products and services by printed advertisements. For training, active members realize the value of your course through the power of printed content. True influencers can convince others to sign up for training.
  3. Print readers are focused: Reading online involves many distractions, which makes learners more likely to multi-task. When readers choose print, chances are that, aside from a drinking a cup of strong coffee, that’s all they’re doing.
  4. Print helps us feel connected, without devices: For a growing number of people, occasionally unplugging has become appealing. When people unplug at home, they still want to “do something.” Reading print is the natural choice. With continuing education training, the act of unplugging to focus on professional development is more important. Learning a new concept in print is easier than making a conscious effort to ignore notifications and other online distractions.
  5. Printed advertisement offer more flexibility: Unlike some online options, printed ads can fit your budget. You can purchase a half page or a page, for example, and use targeted placement to increase visibility. Online, your ad placement is more likely to be determined by an algorithm, not a person, which takes the flexibility and customization out of the process. On the training side, flexibility is also key. Printed materials can take many forms, and careful formatting can bring attention to the most important text.

The real key is to combine initiatives in print and online, drawing on the strengths of both. Retention and learning experience are better when printed materials are used as the primary method of content delivery. Online resources can be incorporated as supplementary content to the printed materials. QR codes make it easy for learners to go online directly from a printed source.

As you think about how to deliver your training materials in 2015, use the best of both worlds to create a comprehensive learning experience. There is true value in blended learning. But remember the power of printed materials for permanence, value, focus, and flexibility.

Proven Corporate Training Experience

Last week on the blog, we explained why Omnipress is the right choice for corporate training companies. Did you know that Omnipress has already worked with many companies in this category?

We are happy to count small publishers like Gravitas Publications and Carden Educational Foundation among our clients. Dr. Rebecca Keller, CEO and Founder of Gravitas Publications, discusses her science textbooks, Real Science-4-Kids, and working with Omnipress in two episodes of Omnipress’ Training and Development Talk podcast:

Real Science-4-Kids Outsourcing Case Study with guest Dr. Rebecca Keller
Print Books Build Better Brains

For additional information on how Omnipress helped Gravitas Publications flourish, read the case study!

Other companies, like Vital Learning, also fit into the corporate training category. Any company that provides training materials can find a partner in Omnipress.

After all, many of the same principals apply to providing training materials for associations and for corporations and small publishers:

  • Print on demand makes sense for companies that experience frequent content changes.
  • Finishing options, including many types of binding and indexing, are available.
  • Order fulfillment is best performed by a provider with experience dealing with international shipping. Training materials can be sent anywhere in the world.
  • Online access to materials can be handled under the same roof as print and fulfillment. Students appreciate having additional avenues to information.
  • Inventory management, done in conjunction with order fulfillment and printing, saves time and frustration.

As you can see, Omnipress has experience with producing, delivering, and managing corporate training materials. We would like more, though—we want to help other small publishers and corporate training companies fulfill their educational missions.

Can you think of a company that could benefit from Omnipress print, fulfillment, and inventory management services for training materials? Contact us today!

Print: It’s Not Dead Yet—And It Never Will Be!

We’ve heard it time and again: Print is dead. No one buys paper books anymore. People live online, so there’s no value in printing continuing education training materials. Have you heard the death knell, too?

What do you think? It’s easy for us, as provider of (among other products and services) printed educational materials for training and events, to take the position that there is much to be gained from reading physical books. But we’re not alone.

According to a study out earlier this month from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers are buying paper books and digital books almost equally ($29.20 annually on paper books vs. $30.18 on eBooks).

According to an article on Vox.com, there are some important differences among age groups. Younger “boomers” (ages 55-64), for example, spend three times as much on paper books as those under 25 do ($40.28 and $12.56, respectively).

Add this to the long list of reasons that print is, in fact, still relevant to your learners of all ages. Ask the next 20 people you see whether they prefer print or digital educational and professional materials and you’re likely to get a mixed bag—some want only print, some use digital exclusively, and some (perhaps most) call on different resources for different circumstances.

To be most valuable to the most learners, your continuing education training content should be available however your learners may choose to consume it. So go right ahead and offer content online; many learners will appreciate the opportunity to review content before the course and refer to it on the go.

Be careful not to count print out too soon, though. It’s far from dead, and many of your learners will find a printed course book or manual to be a vital source for learning, in and outside of the classroom.

Omnipress can help you with online access to training content as well as printed materials, order fulfillment, and inventory management. Partner with a vendor that can help you deliver educational content to learners, in print, online, and whatever format the future brings.

Experience’s Undervalued Benefit

When you look for someone to do business with, whether it’s a car mechanic, house painter, or doctor, experience is important, for many reasons.

First of all, you feel more comfortable trusting your car or your health to someone who knows what they’re doing. “Rookie mistakes” are common enough to earn their own term, and you’re not interested in being the training wheels while professionals get the hang of the work they do. Fair enough!

Another important aspect to choosing a partner based on experience is more subtle, but no less important. When you work with an experienced professional, the body of work that precedes your visit means that the service provider has probably encountered your challenges before.

As such, the doctor or mechanic or hair stylist is elevated from a person who can merely get the job done to someone who can serve in a consultative role in helping you move forward with your specific issue. The stylist knows how to get you through growing out your bangs. The doctor can give you tips to help you lower your blood pressure.

Omnipress has been working with associations for decades and our expertise carries over into print and fulfillment of continuing education training materials. We can also help organizations manage their print inventory and bring their CE training content online.

We know managing content changes can be difficult when it comes to CE training materials. A change in best practices or an important new regulation could cause your organization’s training materials to be outdated, literally overnight. We print on demand, charging only for the inventory your learners order. Working with us means that changing content doesn’t have to cost you. That also means that your office space isn’t overrun by outdated materials.

When some associations initially partner with us, they take the opportunity to update their CE training materials. Maybe your course books could use a facelift, too? (For an example, read the Vibration Institute case study.) Omnipress can help you with rebranding, as well as other cumbersome tasks that many organizations are happy to delegate, like international shipping and inventory management.

Bringing CE training content online is appealing to many organizations, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Omnipress offers event content online as well, and knows how important online access to materials has become to the average member/attendee/learner. To keep your organization relevant and tuned in to the needs of its membership, it makes sense to offer materials online. To make it easier on you, trust the Omnipress team to guide you through the process of bringing content online.

“Delivering knowledge” has been long been Omnipress’ mantra. We apply it to all that we do, whether your focus is events, training, or publications. If you are looking for help with your CE training materials, we are here to help.

Point/Counterpoint: Driver Training in the Trucking Industry & a Takeaway for Everyone

Why use a single-source solution for print and fulfillment of—plus online access to—your continuing education materials? Because if you’re anything like the organizations we work with, you have a lot more on your plate.

Take, for instance, the trucking industry. As shown by two recent blog posts, there are opposing viewpoints among trainers in the field.

  • In What Went Wrong with Truck Driver Training?, the case is made that 30 days of training is not enough to get drivers ready for the perils of a life behind the wheel.
  • In Mandatory Entry-Level Driver Training: Is There a Better Way, the author considers the first 30 days a brief but sufficient starting point, which should be followed by continuing education throughout a driver’s career.

Point: What Went Wrong with the Truck Driver Training?

The author of this blog post argues that truckers are making more mistakes on the road recently. Requirements to earn a new CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) are too lax, he argues. Even once training begins in earnest, as provided by the trucker’s new employer, a new driver only gets 30 days of training. No further training is required; continued support may (or may not) be available from the driver’s new employer.

Is that really enough time to adequately train new drivers? Is there a better way to offer additional training before turning an inexperienced driver loose on the roads? These questions deserve attention—sooner than later—for the safety of everyone who shares the road with trucks.

Counterpoint: Mandatory Entry-Level Driver Training: Is There a Better Way?

In this article, Jim Park argues that in his 20-year career behind the wheel, he managed to do pretty well without any formal training. A culture of “conflicting objectives” leaves the industry with a broken system: carriers want qualified drivers, candidates want affordable training, and driving schools are stuck in the middle, forced to offer a cost-effective but adequate education for drivers.

In Park’s opinion, it’s possible to train a new driver well enough to get started in a few weeks. Further development can fall under the purview of the carrier. In other industries, after all, workers aren’t expected to know everything on their first day. Most positions expect a learning curve and support professional development as your career progresses.

Key Takeaway: You Don’t Have to Do It All

Clearly there are important issues here to be sorted through, and that takes time and brain power. With issues this complicated, there is no easy answer. It’s hard to say which direction would be the better choice, though we are partial to lifelong career development.

Whether or not your organization is dealing with these exact issues, the conflict probably feels familiar. Maybe your industry’s training is less of a potential safety issue; perhaps it’s even more so. Either way, every industry has its own struggles with continuing education training.

And so, with big issues like this to contend with, do you really have time to manage the print and fulfillment of your training manuals? Would you rather spend your mental energy solving the big problems in your industry or juggling multiple vendors?

Omnipress can alleviate the burden, making it easier you to focus on the important issues your industry faces. To learn more, read our training whitepapers or contact us.

The State of the Continuing Education Industry: Results of the 2013 Training Survey

Learning is not the same as it used to be, that much is clear. Between online resources, shortening attention spans and the proliferation of eLearning opportunities, professionals experience continuing education training differently than they did in decades past. The explosion of smartphone and tablet use in the last few years has also had an impact on learning.

Only a fool would suggest that continuing education training hasn’t changed over the last two years. Given that fact, the discussion becomes a matter of degrees. Sure, other options are available now. Some people prefer self-study and online classes. But it’s also true that onsite classes provide networking benefits that learners enjoy, and few associations have abandoned face-to-face training entirely.

How much has changed? That’s one of the many questions we aimed to answer in our 2013 Training Survey, completed by over 240 association professionals.

Survey says: Continuing education has changed less than you’d think.

For example, over 95% of respondents offer only onsite courses or both online and onsite training. Only 2.4% use eLearning exclusively. The benefits of face-to-face classes and seminars should not be overlooked.

Learn more about what your colleagues had to say: Download the white paper! The summary of our findings covers each of the 18 questions and includes graphs and quotes from survey-takers. You’ll come away with a complete picture of the contemporary face of continuing education training.

Download the white paper and leave a comment with your thoughts on continuing education. We’d love to hear from you!

Education in the 21st Century – Infographic

Modern teaching and learning have common themes, regardless of subject matter, age of students, or learning environment. This infographic touches on themes we’ve covered in the blog, from blended learning to budgetary concerns.

Though the intended audience is students pursuing a masters in education degree, continuing education training professionals can draw easy parallels to issues they face and solutions they should consider.

What do you think of education in the 21st century? Do the facts, figures, and concepts in this infographic (courtesy of topmastersineducation.com and blogger Katherine Rose) speak to you?

Education in the 21st Century
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com

Trends in Corporate Learning

Bersin & Associates (Bersin by Deloitte) released a factbook called “The Corporate Learning Factbook 2012.” According to the report, interesting trends are emerging in corporate education. For example, spending has rebounded, rising to levels that exceed not only the recession (2008-09) and the recovery (2010), but also the preceding, more prosperous years (2006-07).

Corporations are showing a commitment to providing employees with training opportunities. Even so, the study also indicates they are seeking greater value for educational investments. Spending an average of $800 per learner, organizations are concerned about earning back in skills and productivity what they are putting out.

Corporate training groups spent about $67 billion in 2011. Many industries are impacted by technological advancements and workers are falling behind. Companies must train them internally to mitigate these circumstances. More informal learning is being embraced as a strategy to stay afloat. Webinars and other e-learning methods are especially useful because they can accommodate larger class sizes. As spending has increased, there are fewer staff members available; the trainer-to-learner ratio has fallen to 5.2 per 1,000.

In order to extend their reach and manage staff reductions, corporations are calling on middle managers to present classes that had been previously taught by professional trainers. The commitment to training workers remains, with or without traditional means of delivery. Corporate trainers are spending less time in a classroom with students. Online classes and one-on-one lessons (on-site or distance) are becoming more prominent.

In-person learning still has its place, though, and is some ways superior. Learner retention, while always important, is considered even more crucial as purse strings are tightened. Training that isn’t solidified with experience and practice represents a dismal ROI; making new skills stick is the right preventive measure, best taken in-person.

The results of this corporation-specific report have got us wondering: Are these trends echoed in the association world? What are your concerns and challenges with providing ILT in 2014 and beyond? How can Omnipress help?

 

Tough Decisions: Where is Your Continuing Education Material Going?

A Recap of our journey to the ASTD International Conference and Expo in Dallas, TX

If you followed our adventure blog to ASTD last week, you know that we didn’t get to Dallas via a straight line or ”as a crow flies,” as they say. We left from Wisconsin and headed south. At one point we found ourselves in California, a far cry from Dallas. The correlation we were attempting to make is that our crazy path from Wisconsin to Texas is similar to the path you may find your organization taking as you decide whether to change the delivery method of your CE materials. When you discuss adding an online component or mobile format to ILT event with printed workbooks, you may find that the answers don’t always come easy. At times, you may experience that your discussions get off track, you lose focus, and you’re confused and left wondering what to do next.

Have you ever feel that way? If so, you may be interested in reading our blog adventure. Below is a recap of each blog and the decision point in changing your CE content.

ASTD Blog Adventure

Day #1 – We learned something from our run-in with the Native Americans. This represents association’s strong desire to learn from other associations, as well as industry leaders.

Day #2 – Tony and I tried to decide whether or not to cross the Great Continental Divide. Likewise, you should carefully consider how to offer your CE content. What are learners asking for?

Day #3 – Midway through the trip, we considered the budget, learning to distinguish true gold from fool’s gold. We recommend starting with implementing small, effective changes – LISTEN, DO, CHANGE.

Day #4 – We met with another Continental Divide, which represents a tough decision. Consider the learner experience, technology, and budget as you move forward with your own challenges.

Day #5 – Nearly upon our destination, we were surprised to be engaged in a battle between budget and learning. The solution is compromise – offering a blended learning CE delivery.

As always, keep Omnipress in mind when you have a CE content decision to make. Whether you choose print, digital, or some of both, we can help you provide the appropriate solution for your organization.

Got questions? Leave a comment and we’ll do our best to clarify. In the words of one of the greatest cowboys of all time, Roy Rogers, once sang, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again!”

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