The 5 big new directions for 2024 were outlined by the 50 best experts and 1,491 professionals leading the field at the LERN conference, now the most important week of the year. These were the hottest topics for discussion and exploration, and research by LERN for your program.
1.Reaching out to new audiences.
This took us by surprise. Several programs have intentionally gone out to reach underserved audiences with generally not terribly profitable programs needed for society today. Not only that, but some are building programs around the unique knowledge and contributions of those cultures. This is a ‘business’ more programs must enter. The great thing is you already want to do it.
Operations is now a source of profitability, along with your new programming and marketing. Streamlining procedures reduces cost, increases participants, and allows staff to do higher dollar activities. A whole new track of sessions on Operations is being added to next year’s conference.
New how-to workshops will be developed for implementing email sign up on your website by Interest Area. No more eblasts; emailing promotions by Interest Area has been proven to work. This is clearly the direction for email promotions. And it is no cost, no staff time.
4. Hybrid classes.
Hybrid or hi-flex classes, with in-person and Zoom options offered at the same time, has been established as a proven format. “It is growing, and it is here to stay,” says Jeanette Chian of Santa Barbara, Cal. The combination of the formats increases participation, boosts profitability, and reduces cancellation rates. Oh yeah, and learners love it.
5.Technology for your program.
AI has gotten all the publicity. In addition, there have been several programs and software that look like they should be used by a majority of organizations. LERN will be researching those and making recommendations in 2024.
It looks like 2024 will be an exciting year for innovation in the field.