LMS for Associations, Association Training

What Differentiates an Association LMS from the Other Online Learning Platforms?

by Debbie Williams

Like other types of organizations, associations are making the switch from traditional learning to online learning. Out of 360,000 trade associations across the country, 7,000 were affected by a shift in training priorities to eLearning, according to Learning Solutions Magazine.1

Many associations are implementing learning management systems to make their switch to online learning smooth and effectively manage member training. An LMS makes eLearning a lot simpler for these organizations, but all learning management systems are not created equally. Different platforms meet the needs of different industries.

This is especially true of an association LMS, which has the ability to distribute training and certifications to an entire member base.

How an Association LMS Differs from Other eLearning Platforms  

An association LMS has the same basic goal as other learning management systems, which is to provide training. However, LMS software that works well for associations has a few distinctions from a corporate LMS or healthcare learning management system, for example. Here are a few ways an association LMS differs from other online learning platforms:  

1. It engages members

Member engagement is a major priority for associations..In most associations, driving engagement is an overarching priority,” stated ASHP.2 A lack of engagement was also the top reason organizations cited for members not renewing.³

One of the ways an association can increase engagement is by providing online continuing education and industry-standard certifications. Training and certifications engage members, promote loyalty, and generate revenue for organizations. They’re also a high-value member benefit because certifications and skill can lead directly to new job opportunities and promotions.

Promote engagement through online training by aligning educational content to the needs of your members and making online courses easily accessible via on-demand mobile learning.association LMS

2. It manages high-volume member training

A key differentiator between an association LMS and other online learning platforms is that it can manage the activity of large volumes of learners without creating extra work for staff - or extra expenses. This allows associations to grow their member bases while keeping stress low for employees and fitting into an already-tight budget.

Associations often have a handful of staff dealing with thousands of members who each want professional development and industry certifications. With an association LMS, members can get what they want with minimal support from staff since the learning management system is doing most of the work.

The best association LMS options also offer flat-fee pricing, or a minimum number of tiers based on users. If your association has thousands or tens of thousands of members, you can use the LMS to scale training efforts for everyone interested without significantly increasing your costs.

Related Reading: 5 Benefits of an LMS for Associations

3. It optimizes training for leaders

While it’s important that association members get trained, it’s equally vital that leaders are given consistent training opportunities. Those who are in association leadership positions should be equipped to operate well within their roles, learn new technology, and innovate to ensure your association stays relevant amid increased competition. An LMS can help close any skills gaps that exist.

An association LMS’s content creation services, custom eLearning courses, and end-user support can be used to create effective training for leaders and staff members who want to move up in the ranks. Content can be tailored to an association’s needs and usage scenarios for staff, so everyone receives training and new opportunities.  

Invest in an LMS Designed for Membership Organizations

Associations should be selective about the LMS they invest in. An LMS that can handle your full member base and provides the tools your staff needs to quickly distribute training is your best bet. Look for specific pricing structure like flat-fee or unlimited users, mobile learning, and the ability to upload tailored industry content.

To compare association LMS providers, we've created a tool that allows you to evaluate features of options within your budget. Download the LMS Comparison Tool today.

Find The Perfect eLearning Solution With The LMS Comparison Tool


1. Learning Solutions Magazine. Build your business: associations and non-profits are a growing e-learning market. https://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/133/build-your-business-associations-and-non-profits-are-a-growing-e-learning-market.

2. ASHP. What does member engagement mean in your association? https://www.ashp.org/State-Affiliates/Membership/Recruitment-and-Retention/What-Does-Member-Engagement-Mean-in-Your-Association.

3. Marketing General. 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. http://www.marketinggeneral.com/knowledge-bank/reports/

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing