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Optimizing Your Educational and Marketing Outreach

Implementing Two Course Development Strategies and Understanding Consumer Learning Behaviors

By Aaron Neumann
Manager, CES Data Reporting + Compliance

July 30, 2013

The CES team constantly brainstorms new strategies that CES Providers can implement to generate more effective marketing outreach. We recently designed a webinar that provides a solid overview of effective marketing strategies for CES Providers and highlights relevant data that all CES Providers should know. The webinar is posted on our YouTube channel, titled: Effective Marketing Strategies for CES Providers. In this article, I am going to focus in on two strategies discussed in the webinar that offer powerful insights into the continuing education network, member learning behaviors and member needs which will empower CES Providers to better engage with and develop more effective marketing outreach to AIA Members.

Architects and design professionals are often highly visual learners and problem solvers. They will always seek education that is stimulating and engaging. That being said, with a network of over 80,000 architects, AIA membership represents a plethora of different learning styles, learning preferences and learning behaviors. As a CES provider, if you develop educational content that taps into architects different learning styles and engages architects in interactive ways, and on top of that, offer this education during a point in which the consumer, i.e. AIA member architect, needs it most, you will succeed in using quality education that connects your company with AIA member architects. Designing educational content that meets CES standards and functions effectively as a marketing tool for your company is challenging. The basis of this article is to help you reach a broader consumer base of AIA members by considering two course development strategies, and to optimize your educational and marketing outreach by offering education when AIA members need it most.

Designing a single course in multiple course formats will enable you as a CES provider to reach a broader demographic of architects. First, consider transforming a single course into a three course series that contains educational content in the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, as illustrated in Figure 1. According to our 2011 member survey, most architects want courses with intermediate level content. However, the beginner level content can be an effective way to reach out to emerging professionals, who are less experienced. The advanced level content will attract seasoned architects, who often the principles of the firm, and the decisions makers for product specifications.

Figure 1.

Another way of designing educational content to reach a broader AIA member demographic is to divide a course into two forms: one face-to-face version, and one online version, using a blended edcuational format, as illustrated in Figure 2. As the educational landscape is changing, more and more people are enganging in education through online platforms. The online educaitonal website Coursera is a perfect example. This fact is especially true for AIA members. More architects are finding that online education is a great supplement to face-to-face education. Although CES Providers obviously value that face-to-face time with archtiects, providers can capitalize on online education and still offer face-to-face courses by integrating blended edcuational formats into their curriculum. Consider devloping courses that function as a pair, both face-to-face and online educational formats.

Figure 2.

Implementing new course formats into your curriculum is certainly one effective way to connect to more AIA members, but what about member learning behaviors? Let’s dive into AIA member learning behaviors and trends. The CES team constantly analyzes member learning behaviors by tracking trends in yearly learning unit completion rates. Figure 3 and Figure 4 below details member learning completion rates of learning units and Health Safety Welfare learning units across a single year. Right away, a CES provider should get pretty excited to note that course completion volume spikes during 2 key periods. During the months of May and October there is a 30% spike in credit completion volume. This is due to state licensing deadlines and AIA member deadlines.

Many state licensing deadlines occur in the months of June and July, and AIA membership deadline for earning the yearly 18 Learning Unit and 12 Health Safety Welfare to maintain compliance occurs at the end of every year. CES Providers should offer courses during these times. Check out our interactive state licensing map to track all architects state licensing deadlines. Historically, many architects demand learning units in the months preceding these deadlines, so reaching out to AIA members during these times is an effective way to generate higher demand for your courses. Keep in mind that many of our AIA components throw “procrastination days” and partner up with providers to offer educational seminars to architects who have upcoming deadlines. Understating these deadlines and AIA member learning behaviors is an excellent strategy for CES providers to base their marketing strategy upon.

Figure 3.

Month

Total LU

HSW

Jan

47,707

37,141

Feb

67,202

52,187

Mar

80,750

59,048

Apr

72,388

54,301

May

106,866

71,433

Jun

76,154

57,157

Jul

55,306

41,935

Aug

57,272

43,219

Sep

79,180

55,926

Oct

111,433

77,626

Nov

106,032

75,108

Dec

86,804

66,876

Totals:

947,094

691,957

Figure 4

In conclusion, designing educational course formats to reach a broader demographic of consumers combined with leveraging of state AIA member deadlines, such as state licensing deadline and AIA member ship deadlines will allow you as a CES Provider to generate higher demand for your courses and design a more effective marketing strategy. We look forward to sharing more marketing strategies with you in the next CES Provider Connection Article!

 

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