For the fourth year in a row, Omnipress has tracked the evolution of conference content and the role it plays at an association’s annual event. This year’s Conference Industry Report indicates that while educational content remains a significant source of value that associations provide, association professionals are facing new challenges as they strive to meet attendees’ changing expectations.
To understand how associations are currently using their conference content, we conducted an online survey of 143 association professionals, many of whom are directly responsible for conference planning.
Download the report to learn:
How are associations using content to engage members and increase conference attendance?
How are associations deciding which formats to offer at their events?
Which types of content are associations currently providing at their conference?
Are there common challenges that all associations face delivering their conference content?
Takeaway #1: The annual conference remains a central part of the association’s member growth strategy.
With most associations reporting flat membership growth in 2017, the ability to engage and retain existing members is critical. The annual conference provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the association’s value, and increasing attendance continues to be the number one priority for associations.
Respondents provided some specific areas of focus to increase attendance at their 2018 events:
Encourage peer to peer engagement
Increase conference quality
Update technologies to increase engagement
Create more networking opportunities
The opportunity for member engagement extends beyond attending the conference. Associations can provide options for members to participate in other meaningful ways by including an open call for their event. Soliciting presentations from within the association allows the organization to recognize the contributions that members are making in their industry and advance their careers.
Read the full report to learn how other associations use content to engage attendees before, during and after their events.
I’m excited to announce that we are conducting ‘The State of Continuing Education Content’ survey again this year. If you are responsible for training or continuing education programs for an association, we want to hear from you! Please take just a couple of minutes and complete the short survey.
This is the 4th year in a row that we will be using your survey responses to compile ‘The State of Continuing Education Industry’ report, which will be released in January. The report provides a glimpse into how your colleagues are developing and implementing educational programs.
But before we can produce the report, we need your input! Please do so today!
Do you ever wonder what other associations are doing for their continuing education programs? Me too!
I’m Dan Loomis, I’m the Director of Training and Publications here at Omnipress. We’re conducting a survey and would love to have some of your input. This is our fourth year of doing it, so we ask questions like, What’s happening with your instructor-led training? What about the printed materials? What about online? How are things changing, how do you see things changing in the future?
And at the end, we put together a great comprehensive report that you can have access to and you can see what your colleagues are doing.
I think it’s fantastic, so we’d really appreciate it if you could just grab a cup of coffee, take a few minutes and help your colleagues out to give everyone an idea of what’s happening in the association continuing education realm. And then we’ll send you the results when we’re done. Thank you!
The continuing education (CE) and training industry has moved forward from the recession and into a period of prosperity. The next several years look to be strong as well, with an increased demand in professional development training.
CE professionals are adding more training programs, but there is little to no budget increase to accompany the growth. Therefore, these programs must have a better ROI so an association can continue to offer them.
To get a better idea of the issues facing the CE industry and the impact on the production and delivery of training content, we conducted a survey. Ninety training professionals named their biggest challenges.
Program marketing: In order to create more programs without an additional budget, it’s important that each course attract enough learners to earn its keep. Promoting training programs has become increasingly important. CE professionals, many of which don’t have a marketing background, might not feel comfortable in this role.
Content development: In some industries, the same issues continue to arise for professionals. Even if topics are evergreen, though, content is not. Keeping training materials fresh and relevant to learners is an important component to a successful course.
Program development: New courses show that your training program is responding to suggestions from its members. Adding topics, or changing the focus of an existing course, keeps your association relevant and allows learners to continue their professional development through your association.
Are these challenge consistent with your experience? How do you plan to meet these challenges? A few suggestions to get you thinking:
Program marketing: Look for opportunities to cross-promote programs. You could include information about a new program in a printed book or online materials for your association’s most popular course. You might also consider refreshing your content to ensure that your materials and training program are marketable. Promoting a course is easier when you feel proud of the materials your association has produced.
Content development: Consider alternate ways to make content changes more manageable for your association. Print on demand is one option; there will be less excess inventory and waste if you print materials as needed. Outsourcing this process can help save you time and frustration.
Program development: Call on feedback from post-course surveys to determine topics that are most important to learners. Remember that creating brand-new courses takes time and energy. In order to make big projects like program development tenable, delegate day-to-day tasks to other staff and volunteers as much as possible.
Between Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month, we think about matters of the heart a lot in February. For this month’s column, I’ve been reflecting on how love plays out for Omnipress. There’s a lot of love in this company, after all, which led me to this conclusion: Members of the Omnipress team share a love of serving associations.
How do we love our jobs? Let’s count the (three) ways:
We love seeing our customers succeed. Planning an association’s annual meeting is a complicated, multi-step process. The meeting planners we work with always seem a bit overwhelmed, and we marvel at their ability to keep everything running smoothly. Omnipress specializes in one of the many tasks on your plate. That means you don’t have to be the conference content expert! We’re here to help, and we find it so gratifying to help make your meeting more successful. Our mission is to help you deliver upon yours.
We love serving a higher purpose. “Delivering knowledge” is our mantra, and we take it seriously. We’re thrilled to play a part in delivering knowledge to professionals around the country (and the globe!), in a wide variety of industries. We love our customers because they help us make a real difference in the world.
We love making your life easier. In working with so many meeting planners, we’ve come to understand how stressful your job can be. But we also recognize that you find the joy in making everything come together, even if the process can be challenging. The Omnipress team is committed to making your workday (and therefore your life) a little easier by simplifying conference content.
We asked meeting planners about their conference goals, budget predictions, and conference content formats they offer in our 2016 State of the Industry survey. The results reminded us of a fact we already knew well: The meeting planners we serve are passionate about their work. What do you love most about associations and planning their meetings? Leave us a comment!
As of late 2015, Millennials make up about one-third of the American workforce, surpassing both Baby Boomers and Generation X. These young professionals (age 18-34) have never known a world without the internet. What role—if any—do printed educational materials play in their lives? Do they want all digital content all the time?
We wanted to know, so we conducted a survey of 548 Millennials (22-33 years old) about their views on educational materials. For a quick snapshot of the results, take a look at the five key statistics below!
50% prefer print when reading something they need to learn. Compare that with just 18% who chose digital. Scientific research that suggests reading printed materials leads to better retention, and young professionals also prefer this method.
59% agree: “It is easier for me to learn from printed materials.” When learners enroll in continuing education courses, they want to come away with new skills to help them advance in their careers. The format used to present new concepts shouldn’t create a barrier. Course participants want to gain new knowledge as quickly and easily as possible, and according to their answers, printed materials make it happen.
58% agree: “Printed materials are better for reference.” After the coursework is completed, learners will need to look back at the materials for reference. Despite the great strides digital materials have made in creating a better search and reading experience for users, over half of the young professionals we surveyed agreed that printed materials make for better references.
86% agree: “The world is more connect than ever, but I think there’s still a place for printed materials.” Millennials seem to understand when to use digital sources and printed materials. They see a place for both and use their best judgment for which format is the best choice in different situations. As one participant said, “We can have both; it’s not a war.”
64% agree: “I will never stop reading printed educational materials.” Think that all young professionals want is online training materials? Not true! Even though they grew up with the internet always available, they understand the value of printed materials for learning and reference.
For more results from the survey, read the full report. Leave a comment to let us know what you think!
Have you read our 2016 State of the Continuing Education Industry yet? If you haven’t had a chance yet, this infographic will give you a good summary of the results. What do you think? Does your continuing education program face the same issues?
Read the white paper to get the full report. Leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear what you think.
Educational content is best delivered in print. To make your continuing education (CE) course or seminar as meaningful as possible, print is an important and necessary component. When it comes to association members taking CE courses, print is a best practice.
Strong views? Yes, but with experience and evidence to back them up, we stand by them. Associations have been tempted to stop printing course books, workbooks, and study guides. That would be a grave mistake.
What do you think? Take a look at the whitepaper and leave a comment below. You can also contact us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, or reach out by phone (800-828-0305) or email.
Need more options? No problem—try a Contact Us form or live chat at Omnipress.com. We would love to hear what you think!
In case you missed it (ICYMI): Millennials prefer print when they read educational materials.
According to whom, you ask? Young professionals themselves! We worked with a third party to administer a survey to 548 men and women, age 22-33. Here’s a sample of the questions we asked. Want the answers, too? Download the white paper!
When you read something you need to learn, which do you prefer: print or digital?
Is it easier to learn from print or digital?
How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: Printed materials are better for reference.
How much do you agree or disagree with this statement: When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program book.
At the risk of belaboring the point, I want to reiterate that the respondents were not in any way connected to Omnipress—or even the association industry at large. Their feedback is real and the results are solid.
Several survey-takers shared quotes, including this one, on the subject of note-taking:
I prefer printed materials because I am able to highlight, mark up, and jot my own notes down next to things that are important. Print materials, I think, are also less strenuous on the eyes. [I] definitely prefer to physically hold something (sounds odd, but I do the same with music—buy the CD then copy to PC so I have both formats). I don’t think you’re able to get the same effect with something in a digital format.
As you head forward into 2015, we invite you to reframe your thinking about event content. Young professionals—the very future of your association—have come out in support of printed educational materials. Get the full story: read the white paper. Comment below with your feedback, or reach out to us and let you know what you think.
We look forward to working with you in 2015! All the best to you, your loved ones, and your association colleagues this year.
“I would not be able to learn or work efficiently with digital materials.”
“I can remember an exact area of a topic that I read easier with a physical text than with a digital text.”
“I prefer printed materials because I am able to highlight, mark up, and job my own notes down next to things that are important.”
“I … like turning the pages in a book and seeing how much I have accomplished reading.”
These are quotes of people who prefer print for learning. That description fits many of your association members, but you may be surprised to learn that all of these statements were written by millennials, age 22-33.
To learn more about how young professionals view print, we wrote the questions, with millennials and worked with another company to administer the survey to volunteer participants between the ages of 22-33. These individuals may or may not belong to a professional association; their identities remain a mystery.
When asked to how they prefer to read something they need to learn, 50% chose printed materials. By contrast, only 18% picked digital.
Over half (59%) agreed completely that it is easier to learn from printed materials.
When asked how much they agree with this statement—When I attend a professional conference, I want a printed program book—, 53% agreed. Another 30% had no opinion, which means that only 17% disagreed.
Now is not the time to stop providing printed materials at your association events. Your youngest members, which are the very future of your organization, have shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that print is important to them. Show them that you value their opinion: make conference printing part of you 2015 plans.