The cost of making the shift to the Information Age is significant. Now
more than ever, running your lifelong learning organization like a business is critical.
The simplifying of the operations of your program is important for both staff and customers. The pace of running lifelong learning programs is dramatically increasing. Programs stuck in the world of meetings, process-laden decision making requirements, top-down management (only the person at the top can make a decision), and meaningless reports will find it difficult to make the shift and may not ever leave the Industrial Age and thus will become a dinosaur and will soon be extinct.
Programs making the transition are doing the following:
Developing a web based management system—a customized software system that runs on the Internet and manages all components of the program. This does
not mean just online registration and online classes. Also included are database management collection and querying capabilities; course/event and promotion development; electronic confirmations and reminders; personalized “dashboards” (customer develop their own interest requirements that are immediately available to them on your web site); and financial
and management reports that are key to operating lifelong learning programs.
Streamlining processes. LERN has outlined 15 lifelong learning processes, such as registration, program development, and refund management. Each of these processes must be redesigned. This probably means destroying your present process and implementing a
new one that makes the customers’ lives easier and adds value to their experience.
Contracting out instead of hiring. The less staff the more flexible a lifelong learning program can be. The more that can be contracted out, the easier it is for a lifelong learning program to change directions. Contracting out also allows you to work with the best and it saves you a
great deal of money in training as well as staff management. Common tasks that are being contracted out are programming; promotion desktopping, printing and distribution; management of computer labs; bookkeeping; and even registration.
Redesigning the organization’s staffing structure. CEO/directors are focused on generating opportunities, managing the organization, and building intellectual capital.
Programmers spend the majority of their time developing new courses/events and new programming directions. Operations people handle all of the day-to-day such as registration, finances, logistics, information generation, etc. Salespeople sell contract training and/or recruit students into high dollar courses. A Promotions Professional manages the program’s one-year market plan and does think marketing by analyzing demographic and purchasing information so that promotions can be more appropriately designed and targeted.