by Aaron Neumann
Manager, CES Member Services
This article continues a series of articles that focus on guiding CES providers through the charts and statistics of the Member Needs Assessment in order to get the most out of the research within. AIA commissioned the survey to investigate the needs and preferences of AIA members on a number of topics surrounding continuing education: course content, technology, educational format, etc. These articles will consider the research from a marketing perspective, and guide providers towards practical ways of applying the research to marketing initiatives and course development. By focusing on one architect demographic at a time (Emerging Professional, Associate Member, Experienced Architect, etc.), these articles should help CES providers customize their course content and format to a broader or more specific demographic, depending on the specific goals of the CES provider. I hope these articles serve as a stepping stone by which providers further investigate the survey for their own purposes.
The first article focused on the needs and preferences of the emerging professional. This article will present an overview of the needs and preferences of the Licensed Architect, who is an AIA Member. 97% of experienced architects are highly interested in continuing education courses that are presented by a practitioner who is an expert. This is high in comparison to their 57% and 44% interest in courses offered by a product provider and professional trainer. When CES providers send instructors who are not only experts on the company and product, but who are highly knowledgeable on the educational content, a truly educational environment is created for licensed architects, meeting their primary demand. Additionally, licensed architects are more interested than Associate Members in taking courses as a part of a state or local conference. CES Providers should consider partnering up with AIA components and other organizations or associations who organize state and local conferences where architects can receive educational credits while attending.
Licensed architects show a higher interest in courses that cover project management, construction administration and contract documents content. These particular topics have broad appeal to a range of related professionals, not just AIA members, including non-AIA member architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects, interior designers, contractors, etc. CES Providers who offer courses in these areas should promote this content to broader circles, as on average, 40% of the professionals attending CES Provider courses are not AIA members. Other professionals will be greatly interested in this content and will seek out the education CES Providers can offer. Furthermore, licensed architects have a greater demand for courses that utilize more traditional technological formats. These include self-administered courses that are accessed from a website or through software on your computer, or video lectures that can be accessed through any kind of computer or video player. Unlike Associate members, who are more open to new educational formats, licensed architects are less interested in virtual classrooms arranged through teleconferencing, pod-casts with audio and/or video content, courses accessed on a handheld device, or computer simulations that allow you to gain experience through a virtual world.
Expectedly, licensed architects have greater autonomy when it comes to deciding which courses to take. 70% of licensed architects decide completely on what education they engage in, compared to less than 50% of Associate Members. Licensed architects are more sought after for advice on which courses to take, on which new technologies and products to use and on the latest trends in the profession. Overall, licensed architects have a greater influence in advising other AIA Members on what courses to take. One of the greatest marketers for a CES Provider is the licensed architect. In addition, licensed architects consist of almost 70% of AIA members. Understanding the needs and preferences of licensed architects will greatly advance CES Providers; the AIA CES Member Needs Assessment is a critical resource for delivering the insight CES Providers need to meet the demands of AIA Members. For further information, please check out the AIA Member Needs Assessment Study Results Webinar.