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4 Reasons You Should Integrate Your Learning Management System and Community

Associations, Community Strategy, Revenue Growth, Customer Stories // The American Gear Manufacturing Association saw a gap in member experience and jumped to fill it by introducing an integrated LMS and online community.

Elizabeth Bell
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Imagine this: You’re inspecting a wind turbine about 350 feet up in the air. You’re there to repair a gear in the gearbox to keep the turbine turning at about 80 meters per second. You’re very capable, as you’ve learned your trade on the job with some specialized training, but you’re a sole proprietor, and you’ve got some questions. Who do you turn to?

The American Gear Manufacturing Association (AGMA), a trade association with about 500 member companies of various sizes, recognized that its members were facing these types of challenges, so it jumped to fill the gap.

To provide its members with access to the education and training they needed in a useable, relevant way, AGMA invested in the Higher Logic Community and CommPartner’s Learning Management System (LMS), which seamlessly integrate.

“This is an amazing product. On the administrative side, it’s easy to use. For our learners, it is user-friendly. First-timers who log in have no problems finding their course information.” – Casandra D. Blassingame, M.Ed., VP of Education Services, American Gear Manufacturers Association

Meeting Members’ Needs Through Education and Connection

The gear manufacturing industry is incredibly broad, and it changes every day with advancements like laser cutters and 3D technology. Gears are in every machine we use. Space shuttles. Bulldozers. Lawn mowers. Ships. The list goes on. But AGMA saw the commonalities, recognizing that every gear manufacturer could use and appreciate training in problem-solving skills or failure analysis.

AGMA saw two needs in the gear manufacturing industry:

  • Increased education around essential skills
  • Connections for members to support them throughout their careers

With an integrated LMS and community, the association has been able to bring the industry and its members together.

AGMA walked through its LMS goals and successes with us, and we compiled the top four reasons to get your LMS integrated with your community, ASAP.

1. Seamless User Experience (UX) and Cohesive Branding

AGMA wanted a learning management system it could customize and integrate with its Higher Logic community, AGMA Connect, so members could transition between the two sites quickly and easily.

AGMA hears it straight from its members: both the LMS and community are simple and streamlined, which makes it easy to toggle between them. The bonus? Because AGMA can tailor its new LMS much more than its past system, the association can ensure the LMS is branded appropriately.

Related: Four common challenges for trade associations and how you can tackle them with community solutions.

2. Streamlined Course Experience

For members, instructors, and staff, the LMS has streamlined the learning experience. Instead of emailing countless class updates, staff can upload these into one place. Updates have become more consistent, which is valuable for everyone involved. Even the onsite classes have become more sustainable, because members have an online classroom option now.

“Often times during the instructional process, related topics are discussed that may be of interest to the learners. Our instructors are able to not only upload related standards applicable to the course, but also other materials like research papers or articles.” – Casandra D. Blassingame, M.Ed., VP of Education Services, AGMA

Related: How engagement tools can improve association event management.

3. Taking the Connection Beyond the Classroom

AGMA switched to an integrated community and LMS because it saw the opportunities this would bring to its members, especially for online-only classes. Members taking classes can connect after the class to keep learning, discuss the subject matter, network in the industry, or even meet up for dinner if they’re local.

AGMA’s online workforce training series has gained traction due to the new people being hired into the industry. This training gives people a great overview and experience with the nomenclature. Once AGMA opens the communities, this will only enhance the peer-to-peer learning experience the association hopes to achieve.

Casandra also noted: “Our marketing department has been an integral part of our success. We have revised and relaunched our online courses on this new platform and the usage has increased exponentially!”

AGMA plans to keep these communities open for one month after the class ends so members in the class can further develop their networks and keep in touch.

Related: How Promotional Products Association International reaches more members with more value.

4. Increased Impact of Education

AGMA’s new LMS has increased the relevance of its education offerings. Members are working on a wide array of projects and solutions, and AGMA’s classes can now help them understand that and unite around the challenges they face.

This is especially relevant for AGMA’s many members who are on the shop floor most of the day or at client locations. Online education gives them the ability to log in wherever they are and continue to pursue their education in the gear industry.

The connections members make benefit them in their classes, but more than that, they’re building a valuable network that will support them throughout their careers. AGMA’s online webinars and workforce training courses are member benefits, which means anyone who’s part of a member company can take them at no cost.

Related: The 6 best features to look for in an LMS.

Defining AGMA’s Success by the Success of Its Members

AGMA is using its integrated LMS and community to provide more value to its members in the way they need it. The trade association wants to support students throughout their careers by providing them with the information they need to perform their jobs effectively. Having access to a learning community beyond the classroom training provides adds value to their learning experience with AGMA.

“We couldn’t be happier with the outcomes we’ve experienced as administrators and through our students’ experience. Bringing this platform to our education offerings has certainly made it easy for us to continue developing our offerings and using the technology that only enhances the learning experience.” – Casandra D. Blassingame, M.Ed., VP of Education Services, AGMA

Giving your members a streamlined, social learning experience can be easy with an integrated LMS and online community. We’ve got plenty more resources for you on this topic. If you’re looking for more, Higher Logic’s Success Kit on Education and Learning is a good place to start.

Download the Engagement Trends Report 2020

Elizabeth Bell

Content Marketing Manager

Elizabeth Bell is the Content Marketing Manager at Higher Logic. She’s passionate about communities, tech, and communicating about both effectively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her cooking, reading, gardening, or playing volleyball.

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