Online Learning Opportunities for Revenue Diversification
Updated: Sep 25
In this article, ESOT introduces a groundbreaking blueprint for enhancing virtual education, simplifying the complex process of content revamping while addressing stakeholder concerns.
A new step-by-step approach to upgrading virtual education
Making significant changes to an association’s educational content can be traumatic and time-consuming. Especially getting the green light from different stakeholders, who are often interlinked.
When faced with an online solution that was no longer fit for purpose, The European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) had to think outside the box.
The situation: With their content spread over several platforms, user engagement was subpar. In addition, a crucial part of their program was Zoom-hosted webinars that were not disseminated afterward.
With other associations making substantial progress in online education, ESOT knew they had to follow suit.
First, they conducted a needs assessment and came up with the following core requirements:
All educational content is available on one single platform: Year-round webinars, courses, Annual Congresses, guidelines, and other documents.
Attractive to sponsors to quickly become cost-neutral, then revenue-generating shortly after.
Offer accreditation and attendance certificates for all activities, including webinars and replays, ideally automated to save staff time.
Experienced support with instructional design, scientific copywriting & accreditation, project management, and hybrid events. Although 24-hour support is preferred, it is not essential.
Engagement tools: Forums, Q&A, polls, chat, assessment tools, custom evaluation forms, and reporting tools, with both aggregate and user-level data.
Seamless transition and set-up, with all functionalities previously developed, tried and tested.
Overall costs are similar to or less than the current outlay.
Their thinking was: “If we are to get the heads-up to migrate to a new Learning Management System (LMS) which fulfills our core needs and handles our myriad of educational activities … it is going to take several months (or years) and 100s of hours of work, educational committee meetings, questions, research, etc., to have a platform ready to launch.
It may be much more straightforward if we propose it in small steps.
ESOT decided to break the decision into bite-sized chunks, or phases, each of which was low-budget and low-risk. As a result, information would be easy to transmit and understand, decisions could be taken in a more agile manner, and it would be far easier to adapt to a changing environment.
Phase 1 was to select a supplier who ticked all the boxes but would provide a straightforward, entry-level LMS to host three full-featured webinars that would yield far more benefits than Zoom alone. In addition, offering automated accreditation for both live and on-demand webinars removed the need for ESOT staff to check attendance reports and send out certificates.
In addition, the LMS had to be scalable and capable of covering all possible online education needs in the future. Finally, the initial set-up had to be simple, economical, and low-risk.
The objective was to centralize the webinars on a single platform with one link, where users could do everything: register, watch the live webinar, watch the replay, and engage with the speakers BOTH LIVE AND FOR WEEKS AFTERWARDS. This way, the content gained much greater dissemination and impact.
As revenue generation was a priority, sponsors were brought in to support the webinars and given unprecedented visibility on the platform, reaching an international audience in a way that was not possible previously.
The supplier handled the initial webinar project end-to-end with a full-service approach. A technician and a webinar coordinator directed the entire process: contact with the speakers, rehearsals, authorizations to publish content on-demand, dynamic branding, and floating camera positions.
The result was a professional look and feel that attracted and engaged speakers and participants alike.
ESOT was delighted with the results and received positive feedback from Faculty and attendees. In addition, their April 13th sponsored webinar welcomed substantially more attendees than expected!
We are now in phase 2, hosting a series of monthly webinars lasting all year and planning to add archived content from previous Annual Congresses.
Phase 3 will involve creating year-round educational sponsorships to onboard corporate partners. This will allow ESOT to recoup its investment and generate funding for future projects.
These core ESOT partners will be able to:
- Enjoy 365-days-a-year visibility.
- Offer their own educational content on demand.
- AND CRUCIALLY, host their own live activities on the portal, such as webinars and short courses, creating real-time engagement with their target.
Corporate sponsors these days value live engagement as a way of boosting the impact of their marketing investment. Brand visibility and sponsored content are no longer enough on their own.
This live, interactive element will help generate strong demand for the packages, which will translate into sponsor satisfaction and healthy, long-term revenue.
In late 2023, phase 4 will include building the first eLearning course, adding the 2023 Congress content, and aiming to hit targets for engagement and usage.
ESOT finds that the following factors impact positively on levels of engagement:
Housing all educational content in one single place. All traffic is channeled to this one “buzzing hub” of content and discourse.
Keeping the interaction going after the activity. Chat, Q&A and polling tools should be left open for weeks after the webinar or course, even on ePosters.
Releasing regular micro-learning activities of 5-10 minutes. ESOT can build their own quickly and easily.
Offering a certificate. Automatically, if possible, to eliminate extra staff hours.
Concrete targets for user activity and engagement can be set, then monitored, using multiple data points: unique visitors, session time, page views, and trending content …. This way, we always know where we stand against our targets.
We can identify and promote trending content on social media, to create a snowball effect on traffic and engagement.
ESOT is delighted with this phase-by-phase approach so far. They can present simple, much less risky, “bite-sized” decisions in front of the Council, and move forward far more rapidly with their educational projects. When combined with additional engagement and sponsorship revenue, the benefits are multiple.