Associations provide a lot of value to their members. Not only do they give members a place to connect with others with the same interests or in the same field, but they also typically offer their members opportunities to further their education and earn valuable certifications within their industry. Organizations that want to approach the learning process in a streamlined way typically invest in association learning management system – or LMS

Learn the Basics of an LMS

Whether you already have a bunch of educational materials you want to organize or you want to monetize your learning content, an association LMS can give you the tools you need to optimize the learning process for your members.

We’re covering everything you need to know about learning management systems here by answering the following questions: 

Ready to learn more about what learning management systems can do for associations and their members? Let’s get started!

What is an Association Learning Management System?

An association learning management system is a type of software solution that provides the framework for housing and managing all elements of an association’s educational program. 

You’ve probably encountered learning management systems before. Any type of organization can use an LMS. Businesses use them to foster ongoing training and education for their employees, and schools use them to manage e-learning. 

Icon of a Learning Management System with an award ribbon attached to it.

In the context of associations, learning management platforms are used to create a continuing education plan for their members. It gives associations the ability to provide them with valuable certifications that could further their careers and access new opportunities.

What Are the Primary Features of an Association Learning Management System?

Association LMS offer many powerful features such as a dedicated hub for online learning content and the ability for learners to take assessments online. They also contain a variety of features that are specific to the needs of membership organizations. 

A web of Essential Association LMS Features including the following: Content storage, Responsive site, Ability to create gated content, Assessments, Certifications, eCommerce, Seamless sign-on, Data integration.

Here’s a rundown of the primary features you should search for when shopping for an association LMS and how you’ll be able to use them.

Content Storage

An ideal LMS will give you a place to store digital learning materials in a content library. Ideally, you will be able to configure your library in various ways to construct individual courses or group content by topic. This feature will allow you to organize all your content, put together courses and structure learning resources in a way that adds value to your members

Responsive Site

LMS should give you the ability to brand your learning management site and personalize it for your own organization. It should also be responsive on any device so that members can use it on their phones, laptops or tablets. This feature allows you to create an aesthetic across your organization between your main website and your learning platform.

Ability to Create Gated Content

Distinguish members-only content from materials that are available to everyone with gated content. Usually, this means you need to be logged in or to have access to the materials in order to view them.

This feature gives you the ability to really personalize your content to your members. It makes the learning programs exclusive which adds value to them. You can also generate non-dues revenue by offering paid content to members and non-members alike. 

Assessments and Tests

Testing tools to deliver and score online exams and assess member learning progress are what give your members the change to check their learnings. Another benefit for you is that you’ll know exactly where your members stand and what additional or different learning materials you might want to provide for them to help meet their learning objectives. It can also provide you with insight to if your courses are working the way you want them to.

Certifications

Once members have passed all necessary quizzes and exams, your LMS can grant them the certificate or document of the courses they complete. These should be downloadable and/or printable so that members can save them for their own records. This take-away after a course is great for bringing to job interviews, to add to a resume or to post on their LinkedIn accounts.

eCommerce Features and Online Payment

An LMS that is based on online learning should provide members an easy way to pay for courses online. Customize payment options and packages to create flexible payment options and meet a wide variety of members’ needs. 

These Features Are What You Need in an LMS

Each LMS system you come across will vary in its features, but these are a few must-have components that you should look for throughout the research process. 

Most importantly, look for a system that can handle your organization’s unique needs. Then, sit down with your team to identify your association’s must-have and nice-to-have features in your ideal LMS. Doing so will provide more direction and guidance throughout the shopping process.

Integrating a Learning Management System with an Association Management Software

As you research LMS options, you’ll find that you can purchase specific systems independently while others are offered in a package along with other association management software (AMS) tools.

Suppose your organization doesn’t yet have an association management software or you’re looking to upgrade. In that case, this could be the perfect opportunity to invest in a membership management solution that includes an LMS. 

What Is an AMS?

If you’ve never used one before, you may be asking, what is an AMS? An AMS is a software solution that enables membership organizations to conduct all membership management activities from a centralized, digital platform.

These software solutions typically include the following tools:

  • A membership database: Your members are the heart of your organization and probably the reason for its existence. A membership database is a software tool that allows you to store and track member data to build meaningful relationships with them. 
  • An online member community: Plenty of people join associations and other membership organizations for the valuable networking opportunities they provide. With an online member community, you can facilitate a dedicated, members-only virtual space for members to interact and collaborate. 
  • An integrated website content management system (CMS): Many AMS providers will not only host your organization’s website, but some also offer a full-fledged CMS. This means you’ll have easy access to a platform that allows you to make real-time changes to your site and seamlessly transfer information to and from your member database. 

AMS systems come with many other features, from event management to online payment processing and reporting. Plus, they often, but not always, include comprehensive learning management systems, an addition that provides plenty of benefits for staff and members alike.

List of benefits that come with using an LMS that integrates with your AMS. For staff: reduce user friction, save time, and keeps all management solutions within one system. For members: Access tailored learning opportunities, use just one required login, and navigate the LMS more easily.

Staff benefits of an AMS/LMS Integration

When you invest in an AMS that includes an LMS as part of its suite of software solutions, creating programs and organizing learning courses will be easier than ever.

Some benefits of having an integrated AMS/LMS system include:

  • Reduce user friction: An integrated LMS gives your staff members a structured, standardized process for inputting and updating learning modules and materials. 
  • Save time: Avoid having to manually input or transfer data across multiple platforms. Your integrated LMS blends seamlessly with your larger AMS platform. 
  • Keep all management solutions within one system: When your LMS is a part of your overarching AMS system, you’ll benefit from having all your information in one place, providing greater continuity and organization. 

As you can see, these benefits can free up a lot of your staff’s time, allowing them to focus their energy on other aspects of membership management, such as member engagement and retention.

Member Benefits of an AMS/LMS Integration

Integrating your LMS with your AMS system offers benefits for your members as well. They’ll be able to:

  • Access tailored learning opportunities: Using the information in your AMS, such as membership status or past learning history, you can offer personalized learning opportunities to your members. 
  • Use just one required login: Your members will be able to use just one username and password to access your AMS and LMS instead of having to keep track of multiple logins. 
  • Navigate the LMS more easily: Using the same system for your AMS and LMS means members will be more familiar with the LMS platform and have an easier time navigating the system. 

When you offer members a more convenient, easily accessible platform to obtain critical certifications and other educational benefits, they’ll have a more positive experience. This can contribute to higher membership retention rates.

The Best Association Learning Management System?

When it comes to offering an intuitive, easy-to-use LMS that integrates with a robust AMS system, one provider stands above the rest: MemberClicks

MemberClicks for LMS

MemberClicks is an association software provider that over 3,000 organizations turn to for help with membership management, event planning, online payments, and more. Our product offers solutions for all types of organizations, including professional and trade associations, chambers of commerce, association management companies, and colleges and universities. 

Is your association ready to invest in a quality LMS? Reach out to MemberClicks today!

The MemberClicks Learning Management System (MC | LMS) comes packaged with all the features your organization needs to optimize its online learning experience. You can manage online content, track educational credits, issue certificates, and more, all from one comprehensive interface. 

Benefits of MemberClicks LMS

Using MemberClicks for a Learning Management System will:

  • Organize your digital property to put your digital assets to work and provide value for members. Set up any online educational materials, from on-demand videos to a proprietary course flow. 
  • Integrate with your AMS to have your data available across your membership management software solutions, providing a streamlined experience for your staff and members. 
  • Automate learning with a structured educational experience that automatically issues certifications. Create an organized course flow with prerequisites and other benchmarks. 
  • Track performance to optimize content. High-level dashboard insights and detailed reports help identify strengths and weaknesses regarding learners’ progress and experience. Then, you can adjust your courses accordingly to offer the best customer experience possible while still challenging members to learn more. 
  • Upload multimedia content (videos and documents), so you can provide members with a more engaging experience that uses a variety of content, keeping the learning process enjoyable.

One of the best aspects of this MemberClicks feature is that it integrates with the MemberClicks AMS. This means that when you invest in MemberClicks’ combined solutions, you’ll be able to access the best features of an LMS and an AMS.

Then, you can leverage both systems to manage your member database, automate dues payments, administer certifications, track continuing education credits, and more. 

Interested in learning more? Request a free demo to find out how MemberClicks can help you.

Other LMS Options

Of course, MemberClicks isn’t the only LMS option available for associations. There are plenty of other choices that vary in price, functionality, and features. 

Here are 10 other association LMS options that may suit your needs:

1. CourseStage LMS by Web Courseworks

Web Courseworks specializes in learning technology for professional, medical, trade associations, companies with channel partners, and government organizations.

Their association learning management system, called CourseStage LMS, features an intuitive interface, an integrated learning experience, reporting functionality, and adaptive learning to suit varying member needs. 

CourseStage LMS also facilitates social learning options with discussion boards and live chat options that encourage member collaboration. 

For more information, learn more here.

2. BlueSky eLearn

BlueSky eLearn offers LMS capabilities to several industries, including associations, legal education, professional education, and clinical.

Their Path products are built to deliver virtual events and educational content on any device. Users value the platform for its wide variety of features, such as the ability to customize Path with their organization’s branding and use marketing tools to identify audience members who are most likely to become learners. 

The cloud-based platform allows for unlimited storage, ensuring you’ll have a reliable platform to store your rich content for years to come. 

For more information, learn more here.

3. YourMembership Learning

YourMembership is an association management software provider that offers two learning management platforms as part of its suite of tools, Crowd Wisdom and Freestone. 

Associations use these systems to engage members with a robust learning experience. They also benefit from a strengthened brand image due to the branding capabilities that allow each organization to customize its LMS platform. 

Organizations can organize and deliver webinars, create personalized learning paths, and inspire more learners with social sharing tools.

For more information, learn more here.

4. CommPartners

CommPartners provides associations with an all-in-one learning platform through its Elevate LMS. This platform is an excellent option for organizations looking to expand their virtual event capabilities.

Organize hybrid events, virtual conferences, webinars, and webcasts using the Elevate hub. Plus, you can grow revenue by offering content recordings for a fee. 

Elevate also offers all the features any association needs in its LMS, such as a community platform to foster networking and collaboration, seamless integrations, and comprehensive reporting.

For more information, learn more here.

5. Classroom24-7

Classroom24-7 is an online education company that facilitates remote learning that builds and manages your online learning program for you. This means that you have more time to focus on other aspects of membership management. 

This remote learning tool helps expand your association’s influence to a worldwide audience while generating revenue by monetizing your learning program. 

They also offer plenty of additional services to help produce and sustain a remote learning program, from conducting needs assessments to marketing services that help boost student retention.

For more information, learn more here.

6. Tovuti

Tovuti is a comprehensive LMS a wide range of organizations use, including schools, businesses, and clinical organizations.

To help with the onboarding process, Tovuti offers new clients coaching services to help them get the platform up and running. Also, the solution’s gamification features help make learning fun with leaderboards and learning games.

Additionally, organizations can facilitate synchronous learning with a live virtual classroom.

For more information, learn more here.

7. Maple LMS

Maple LMS is an LMS for Salesforce users. If your organization uses Salesforce for its constituent relationship management (CRM) system, you’ll benefit from seamless integration with this LMS option. 

Maple LMS offers a wide range of learning options, from AI-driven to offline, live, and on-demand options. In addition, users benefit from unlimited courses and cloud storage.

They also offer speedy, no-cost onboarding that doesn’t require any work from your IT team. 

For more information, learn more here.

8. Persona Learning

Persona Learning offers an eLearning system for associations equipped with an integrated course catalog, eCommerce platform, learner registration, reports, and more.

The platform supports both blended and social learning and can integrate with several top AMS systems. It’s an easy-to-use system, even for users without a technical background. 

Association leaders can easily create course content by using a web-based drag-and-drop authoring tool. 

For more information, learn more here.

9. Digitec Interactive

Digitec Interactive facilitates “training that sticks” by helping associations deliver relevant, engaging eLearning content to their members. 

This program uses what they call a “modified Agile Learning Development process” that provides checkpoints to ensure lessons are aligned with your association’s goals. Your team can request changes at any point in the development process until the learning content looks precisely how you want it.

Digitec also offers innovative learning services such as gamification, simulations, virtual reality, and immersive learning.

For more information, learn more here.

10. WBT Systems

WBT Systems is a long-time LMS provider that offers a flexible, intuitive platform to facilitate member eLearning. Associations can track and issue certifications and credits, plan virtual conferences and other events, issue assessments, and access accurate reporting using this LMS.

Content catalogs make it easy for learners to browse and purchase content options. Interactive polls and questions also help boost engagement.

Finally, micro-credentials and badges allow organizations to recognize and show appreciation for learners when they hit certain milestones.

For more information, learn more here.

When Is It Time To Invest in an LMS?

Now that you’re familiar with the basic features and benefits of association learning management systems, you might be interested in investing in one for your organization. But how can you know when is the best time to make this purchase?

We’ve compiled a few signs that signify that your organization should invest in or upgrade your LMS:

These are the signs that let you know it's time to invest in a new association LMS.
1. You're using a disorganized learning system.
2. Your industry offers certifications that you want to help members earn. 
3. Members have expressed a desire for greater learning opportunities. 
4. You desire a scalable, flexible system to manage current and future needs. 
5. You want to generate more non-dues revenue.

Spreadsheets Are Your Current Go-To

If you’re using a disparate system of spreadsheets, Google docs, surveys, videos, and calendars to manage your learning content, it’s time for an LMS. If you’ve used a system like this to manage your learning content for an extended period, you know how time-consuming it can be. You’re probably ready for a centralized system for storing your digital educational materials. 

You Prioritize Your Members’ Learning and Have Certifications To Share With Them

Your association’s field has several certifications available to help members with their career goals, and you want to help members achieve these certifications. After all, one of the main functions of any association is to help its members succeed, personally and professionally. Adding a learning platform to your membership benefits might be the additional benefit you need to optimize your members’ experience. 

Your Members Are Asking For It

Your members have expressed a desire for greater learning opportunities and often come to you for resources. You may have gathered this feedback from members via a member needs assessment survey or in casual conversation, and you want to start acting on it to improve your member satisfaction. 

You’re Ready To Grow Your Online Classroom

You desire a scalable, flexible system that can manage your future educational and membership management needs. You probably have your eye set on your organization’s continued growth. A dedicated LMS can grow with your organization and adapt to your members’ evolving needs. 

Ready to Monetize Your Online Learning Resources

You’re looking for more opportunities to generate non-dues revenue. You can use your LMS to create more than just educational content for existing members. You can charge non-members a fee to access specific learning resources, providing an additional non-dues revenue stream.

If you relate to any of these statements, it might be the perfect time to invest in a new association LMS. 

Before making your decision, be sure to meet with stakeholders, such as your board members and the staff members who will use the system regularly. Bringing them into the LMS conversation ensures that you’re keeping your top leadership in the loop while gaining feedback from the team members who will use the platform the most.

A Learning Management System Can Change Your Association For Good

From streamlining and automating the learning process to delivering the valuable educational credentials your members desire, your association LMS can provide what your organization needs to offer a comprehensive learning experience. In addition, when your LMS and AMS integrate, you can create a seamless online learning experience for your members and your staff, optimizing the process on both sides. 

For more information on learning management systems, check out these additional resources: