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Whether we like it or not, our world has become increasingly reliant on virtual events. Out of convenience, necessity, and affordability, education has been migrating online for years. It’s possible that most of your members have at least one (if not all) virtual or hybrid classes this semester.
Just as higher education institutions have started offering online education options, your chapters should leverage the virtual education platforms widely available for use right now. As we discussed in our last post, even if your chapters are forced to run things virtually, members still have a desire and need to learn or connect. Providing members with online education opportunities is a seamless way to fill this gap virtually.
Are you or your chapters struggling to figure out how to translate educational programming into a virtual format? Don’t try to recreate an in-person event. Explore new and engaging virtual formats that can breathe life into typical educational programming. We’re sharing a few of those ideas below:
We’ve already seen many organizations have to make the switch to virtual conferences. Chapters can adopt this idea as well by pooling their efforts. Instead of each holding their own virtual education event, they can partner to put together programming for a regional virtual conference.
Remember that virtual conferences don’t have to mimic an in-person event schedule. Members might prefer them spread out over several days—or even weeks—so they’re not tied down to their computer for an entire day, which is not always possible when everyone’s at home.
The team at Matchbox Virtual Media has mastered the art of virtual summits. Check out the one they’re hosting on Fridays about creating engaging virtual experiences. Speakers are pre-recorded so they can participate in a live chat with attendees while the presentations are aired.
Webinars may not be a new concept for your organizations, but releasing them more frequently during a time of virtual operations can show chapters that you are still focused on providing valuable educational programming. In addition, find new ways to bring engagement into your webinars, incorporate more polls, Q&A, chat questions to turn your webinar into a conversation vs. a presentation.
In our last post on chapter social connections, we told you about virtual lunch, breakfast, or coffee breaks for chapters to meet up. These can also be turned into opportunities for a lunch and learn, whether the chapter invites a guest to share ideas or comes up with a series of topics they want to explore on their own. Virtual formats like lunch and learns or podcasts (see below) are channels that lend themselves to storytelling. Explore highlighting stories of members or alumni who are doing amazing things that represent your organization’s core values. Have a member who has went above and beyond in their local community? Or an alum excelling in their career who can speak on specific career topics? These channels are a natural fit for sharing their stories.
Is someone on your team itching to start their own podcast? Now could be the perfect time! With the growing popularity of podcasts, this could be a unique avenue to connect with members. For more podcast inspiration, check out Mariner Management’s post on podcasts as an option for chapter events. Not ready to start your own? Send out a digest of influential or educational podcasts and encourage chapters to start their own discussion groups to share ideas.
Web conferencing platforms are a simple way to host exam study groups or group discussions about industry events, articles, or books. These informal education events serve the dual purpose of socializing and learning.
If your chapters have had to take operations virtual, encourage them to take advantage of this time by experimenting with new virtual education options. When they get back to normal, they will have the experience behind them to offer more options for member engagement than just their usual in-person events. In our next post, we’ll describe how to prepare chapters for virtual events.