Case   Studies

Offering People Alternative Ways to Learn – Design and development of online distance learning for a professional association’s global membership

What was needed …

A professional association was seeking to expand the variety of learning opportunities it had available for its over 1,000 member companies across the United States and their worldwide affiliates.  Specifically, they wanted to offer a series of online learning events focusing on leadership, interpersonal and relational skills.  While they had past experience in delivering web-enabled conferences (webinars), it had always been in the technical skills arena.  Since their experience in “soft skills” topics was limited, they came to Merge for assistance in not only delivering several of these programs, but also her expertise and advice on how to design such a series.

What Merge did …

Merge met with the Assistant Vice President and his education and technical teams to determine their overall vision for this project.  She was able to offer insights and recommendations to help them determine content, frequency, timing, format, and inclusion of interactive features.  Eventually it was decided to plan for nine live webinars in the first year, with each event also archived online, available for employees from the association member companies to access at their convenience later.  Merge was given the responsibility of designing and delivering the first two and the final two of the total nine.  The first two were used as models and “training” for other industry experts (from the association’s member companies) who then designed and delivered the remaining five.  After the first live webinar, Merge met with the association’s staff to conduct a review of what went well and what could be improved.  These changes were incorporated into subsequent webinars.

What were the results …

The first webinar attracted over 1,000 registrants from over 130 member companies and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.  Subsequent webinars continued to draw similar numbers affirming to the association that they were fulfilling a membership need.  Overall satisfaction with Merge’s events averaged 4.4 out of 5.0.  The association’s meeting manager said “Merge presents very clearly and efficiently while she educates the audience and keeps them focused.”  In fact, the live webinar series was such a success in the first year that the association decided to continue the initiative in future years.  Merge has continued to actively participate in this ongoing series.