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Review of Member Research

Continuing Education plays a critical role in the professional development of AIA members, primarily licensed architects who need to fulfill continuing education credits for licensing purposes. The AIA Continuing Education System has constructed a network of education providers to provide the highest quality educational opportunities for members. Professional learning is an ever-changing resource and must adapt to new technologies and learning formats.

A survey conducted by Rockbridge Associates aimed to gather research about AIA member preferences and interests regarding continuing education courses and programs. Specific goals from the research included evaluation of content areas providers should focus on in the future, technology-based formats AIA members seek, and assessment of the importance of continuing education offerings to membership in AIA, among other topics.

The overall findings of the survey give an insightful look at the interest and incentives which motivate architects to contribute time to continuing education.

While the employer usually pays for 60% of the cost of continuing education and 40% of members feel continuing education is an important factor in their decision to remain an AIA member, many members find it difficult to incorporate continuing education programs into their already busy schedules. Courses covering Building Science and Performance, Environmental and High Performance Design, and Materials and Methods are most desired and members prefer courses which provide practical knowledge they can apply immediately. While members are generally interested and comfortable with technology and its practices related to architecture, 62% find it difficult to keep up with the rapidly-changing knowledge base of their peers.

Most AIA members prefer shorter courses taught locally or at their office, yet there was a division between how members implemented the use of technology in their Continuing Education endeavors. The survey identified five groups of members based on their learning-style and their engagement level in continuing education – Busy Self Learners, Experienced Architects, Individual Tech Learners, Motivated Learners, and Reluctant Learners. Busy Self Learners and Experienced Architects tend to rely on traditional learning formats for courses while Individual Tech Learners and Motivated Learners are passionate about many content types and are eager to use a variety of traditional and tech-based systems.

As a whole, members considered an expert of a topic the most desirable person to conduct an AIA course and were most concerned about the cost, convenience of schedule and location when determining a course to choose.

For additional information about member research, AIA/CES will be offering a webinar on October 11, 2011. Register Today!


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