Exploring Critical Success Factors of eLearning Program Implementations in Membership Associations

OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY

Association leaders invest in eLearning programs for a variety of reasons including increased non-dues revenue and improved membership learning opportunities. eLearning provides convenience, flexibility and reduced learning costs for members who are often busy and have significant barriers to attending traditional classroom programs. The use of technology has influenced how we learn as adults in a variety of industries. But technology has not been widely adopted in the field of continuing professional education (CPE) outside an academic environment. Membership associations lag behind their pure academic counterparts in using technology to provide online learning programs, thus limiting educational options for adults who must gain industry certifications to remain relevant in the workforce. The research problem is that association managers have limited information concerning critical success factors (CSFs) of eLearning program implementations. CSF research is a sound method for providing actionable information upon which decisions can be made concerning how resources should be allocated during complex program development. This mixed method study may reduce the gap in knowledge concerning successful eLearning program development by exploring the experiences of program managers who have successfully launched eLearning initiatives. A second, quantitative component will include a survey among associations to verify or modify CSFs and discover failure factors as well.

For complete information concerning the ASAE grant and the full study proposal. Please contact Dr. Whitcomb at vjwhitcomb@salisbury.edu

PARTICIPATION CRITERIA

Through a grant from ASAE Foundation (American Society of Association Executives), I am conducting a study to discover critical success factors of online learning program implementations, and I am seeking qualified individuals to interview for approximately 30 minutes. In order to participate, you must have had direct experience implementing a successful eLearning program. The specific inclusion criteria are as follows:

• Participants must have direct experience developing the online program.
• The program must have been launched at least a year ago.
• The program must be a “success” in that it met minimum expectations set by the organization at the outset of the initiative.

If you chose to participate, I will conduct a short interview (30 minutes on average) in the next week or two. I will also ask you to review the preliminary and final results of the study and provide feedback. This study is important because many associations provide educational opportunities for members, and establishing successful online programs may extend learning opportunities to millions of additional individuals in a variety of industries. Understanding critical success factors that reduce the risk of launching online programs may help other associations provide learning opportunities to more members thereby increasing non-dues revenue and improving member services.

If you are interested and qualified, please review the consent form below, along with a list of questions we will discuss during our interview, then please schedule a telephone meeting at your convenience by clicking on this link:
https://www.timetrade.com/book/2PBCC

INFORMED CONSENT

You are invited to take part in a research study to discover critical success factors (CSFs) of eLearning program implementations. You are qualified to participate because you have direct experienced implementing a successful online educational program within your organization. This form is part of a process called “informed consent” to allow you to understand this study before deciding whether to take part.

This study is being conducted by a researcher named Valerie J. Whitcomb, Ph.D. who is a program instructional designer at Salisbury University in Maryland, USA. This study is funded by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation.

Background Information:
The purpose of this study is to explore the lived experience of program managers within membership associations who have implemented successful online educational programs. The specific inclusion criteria are as follows:

• Participants must have direct experience developing the online program.
• The program must have been launched at least a year ago.
• The program must be a “success” in that it met minimum expectations set by the organization at the outset of the initiative.

Procedures:
If you agree to be in this study, you will be asked to:
• Participate in a semi-structured phone interview of approximately 30 minutes that will be recorded and transcribed for research purposes.
• Validate or comment on the researcher’s interpretation of your experience by reviewing a textural-structural description of your experience within 3 days of receipt or as soon as possible. This review should take no more than 20 minutes.
• Validate or comment on the findings of the analysis of the shared experience of all participants, as interpreted by the researcher, within 3 days of receipt or as soon as possible. This review should take no more than 20 minutes.

Voluntary Nature of the Study:
This study is voluntary. Your decision of whether or not you choose to be in the study will be respected in every way. If you decide to join the study now, you can still change your mind later. You may stop at any time.

Risks and Benefits of Being in the Study:
Participating in this type of study involves the risk of minor discomforts that may be encountered in daily life, such as spending time participating in a study rather than pursuing other endeavors.

This study will benefit membership association program managers because we will explore the critical success factors of implementing online education programs, and this may be of value to those considering this undertaking. The paper resulting from the study will help prepare membership association program managers to incorporate online learning in their education offerings. The final report, which is expected to include best practices and critical success factors, will be disseminated to all who participate.

Payment:
There will be no payment for participation in this study.

Privacy:
Any information you provide will be kept confidential at all times. The researcher will not use your personal information for any purposes outside of this research project. Also, the researcher will not include your name or anything else that could identify you in the study reports. Data will be kept secure by ensuring that narrations and transcriptions, along with all research is kept in a secure, password protected environment. Data will be kept for a period of at least 5 years, as required by the university.

Contacts and Questions:
You may ask any questions you have now or at any time by contacting the researcher via email at vjwhitcomb@salisbury.edu or by phone at (703) 678-9279.

Please indicate your consent by responding to this email with your willingness to consent, or by indicating when you schedule your interview that you consent to participate. Please feel free to schedule a time that meets your needs by clicking on this link:
https://www.timetrade.com/book/2PBCC

When you schedule your interview you can consent to participate. Please save this correspondence for your records.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Valerie J. Whitcomb, Ph.D.
Program Instructional Designer
Perdue School of Business
Salisbury University, MD
(703) 678-9279