Learning Co-Creators

African American business person looking at e-commerce symbol on laptop uidWith the daily tsunami of blogs, the content curator plays an important role.  Thanks to SmartBrief, this superb post by Scott Anthony rose to the top for me:  Turning Customer Intelligence into Innovation.  Anthony cites several corporate examples where customer and company come together to create or improve a product.  In essence, they become “co-creators.”  Associations and other providers of professional development should engage participants as co-creators of education.

If associations want to provide education that is meaningful and compelling, they should adapt the corporate strategies as outlined in  Anthony’s post (above), using the growing body of knowledge about adult learners:

  1. Spend more time with members who are engaged in your education, training, or credentialing programs.  Actively listen to these professionals.  Seek ways beyond the post-session survey to glean feedback.  Ask program participants to advise regarding redesigns, formats, content, what experiences really would  make a difference in their respective career journeys.   Adult learners bring expertise, experience, and life perspectives to the learning setting — tap into this deep well of information and knowledge.
  2. Find easy ways to have ongoing conversations with members (see Anthony’s last paragraph).   Associations are the most logical environment for communities of practice; facilitated group chats, e.g., via LinkedIn; even Twitter feeds.  If the association can establish a direct link  from the organization home-page — one click and you are there — members will be more attracted to the conversation.  However, once they arrive, staff needs to be facilitating, seeding, curating, engaging to provide a culture of conversation.  Adults usually are quite willing to engage in purposeful conversations especially if access is simple and thoughts are respected.
  3. Set up a beta-test process (I love this concept!  Thank you, S. Anthony).   The concept of a limited or small beta test is perfect for associations.  With executives working often at the whim of a volunteer board, many staff leaders have lead feet but burning vision.   The limited beta process, as part of the organizational culture, would allow that frozen executive team to try that new education delivery with a small group of members.  Participation by invitation with commitment from all parties to provide feedback allows members and staff to learn.  Truly co-creation!

Professional education is constantly evolving.   Multiple sources of data feed remarkable associations.    Through  association & member co-creation,  data are expanded and energy is provided to grow quality learning.