We research the trends that are impacting the market for lifelong learning that you can read about here. In this article, we want to highlight two trends in particular that we feel are relevant to AssociationSuccess.org readers.
Associations have been slow to jump on this growing trend. According to our most recent research, under 16.2% of associations have held a virtual conference and under 12.3% have plans to in the next 12 months. In the meantime, the market for virtual events is projected to grow from $14 billion annually to $18 billion by 2023.
A lot of that growth is happening in the private sector. However, we’re seeing more and more signs that associations are tuning into the opportunity represented by virtual events, particularly to reach the often large percentage of members who don’t attend annual face-to-face events.
The technology that makes virtual conferences possible has gotten cheaper and easier to use, meaning that holding a virtual conference is well within the means of a huge number of organizations today.
Part of the key to making virtual conferences as powerful as possible is social learning. Our research suggests that most associations have jumped into this area to some degree, whether that means using social to support informal learning experiences, or integrating it into formal learning events, or both. We need to focus on improving the facilitation and orchestration of social learning. We need to give deliberate thought to how to best weave social learning into other types of events and experiences. And we need to be more strategic about having a meaningful presence in our learners’ personal learning networks through effective curation and consistent social sharing.
That’s a brief look at just two of the trends that we continue to track. We think if you put these two trends together – virtual conferences and social learning – you’ll see that you have a powerful way to reach many more learners and have a bigger impact on the field or industry that you serve.