Learning Resources Network (LERN), described as the largest continuing education association in the world, offered a number of observations in its report, The State of Lifelong Learning 2012, pubished around the new year. As we approach the half-way mark for 2012, many of its insights pertaining to continuing education appear on target.
Here’s a closer look.
LERN observation: Era of mobile begins, with mobile technology changing the way providers communicate and market to their customers, and perhaps eventually, how they format online courses. Other, related technology trends include the growth of QR codes placed on brochures and catalogs and the conversion of printed materials into e-books.
Comment: As a software company with touchpoints all over this trend, we concur wholeheartedly.
LERN observation: Generational transition is underway, and it’s critical to continuing education that both the focus and leadership continue to transfer from the Baby Boomers to Gen X and Gen Y. Programs that fail to make this transition risk irrelevance.
Comment: This one isn't a shocker, and the transition is being accelerated by technology innovations such as those mentioned in the initial observation above.
LERN observation: Programs are surviving – and some thriving – despite an environment made difficult by a tough economy, lack of business investment and an absence of understanding and support from government, institutional leaders and society in general.
Comment: On point – though the “absence of understanding and support” assessment probably depends upon one's perspective.
LERN observation: New knowledge work skills are being offered, including courses on topics such as mobile marketing, social media and coaching to improve the skills of information and knowledge workers in today’s Internet age.
Comment: Courses typically evolve to meet demand. Technological innovation that spawn new learning needs thankfully have created tools (e.g., learning management systems, mobile platforms, etc.) that can quickly ramp up to address those needs.
LERN observation: Data is essential to the future success of continuing education. Programs need the right data to make the right decisions, and the right expertise on staff to analyze it.
Comment: This has been the case. Now, though, someone has probably analyzed the data to confirm it.
LERN observation: Online certificate programs are taking off and promise to be one of the biggest new growth areas in continuing ed.
Comment: This probably held true even before 2012.
LERN observation: Customer share is replacing market share as providers focus more on retention and getting more out of their customers than getting more customers.
Comment: This is the nature of maturing markets, but with so much new technology in this field, don't be surprised if some "game changer" shakes up the market dynamics.
LERN observation: New growth areas today reflect shifting audiences and formats more so than fluctuations in subject matter. Resources are being dedicated toward these growth areas and developing programs that are comprehensive, intensive and high dollar.
Comment: Interesting and something we hope to learn much more about.
LERN observation: Vision and leadership will be even more important than good management as the continuing education industry moves from outdated practices to practices that respond to the needs of the new economy.
Comment: Makes sense.
Those are the headliners of the many LERN observations in its 2012 report. Because so many ABC Signup registration software customers and fans deliver continuing education programs, we thought it fitting to share these with you (if you haven’t seen them already).
Please feel free to take this a step further. Share your thoughts on these observations, or better yet, share your observations on what’s going on in the world of continuing education. Who better to hear it from than the practitioners in the field? Just use the comment section below.
As always, if you have any questions about ABC Signup or online registration software, don't hesitate to e-mail or call us (866.791.8268x0).