Continuing education courses have proven to be one of the most rewarding and efficient tools for advancing one’s career. Some professions (e.g., medical, legal) compel practitioners to take continuing education courses to keep licenses or credentials in good standing. Professional requirements notwithstanding, many employers in dynamic industries encourage their workers to stay informed on modern practices. However, this push toward education also means that more schools are offering continuing education programs. You may find it challenging to fill up classes. Utilizing data can help.

Educators and education administrators utilize statistics on demographics and more when developing a continuing education course. This means that you already possess the data you need to market the course successfully. Studying student demographics, enrollment statistics, and school specialties will help you fill up your classrooms. Not only will these resources help you market the course, but they will also help you improve the course content later.

In this blog, we are going to look at how data benefits continuing education courses in two major ways: marketing the course and improving the course.

Marketing the Course

Data helps you craft every aspect of your marketing strategy, from traditional advertisements to content marketing. Data is particularly useful when marketing a continuing education course, as the world of higher education has so many niche markets. If you ignore data, you risk spreading your message to an unreceptive audience. Suppose, for example; your school is offering a new course that will fulfill continuing education requirements for engineers. Someone who completely disregards enrollment data might decide to place the advertisement in every student publication. Someone who understands the demographic data, however, would narrow the advertisement’s reach–specifically, to alumni and engineering department publications. Harnessing the data already available saves time, money, and effort.

There are two aspects to every successful marketing campaign: creation and analysis. The creative aspect focuses on defining the voice, message, and aesthetics of the campaign. The analytical aspect establishes the campaign’s target audience and studying the message’s efficacy.

In marketing a continuing education course, the goal is to target adult professionals who aim to advance their careers. However, to truly become visible to the right people, you need to push the envelope and delve into specific demographics and distinguishable traits. Your first step is to determine the course’s target audience. Continuing education programs focus on non-traditional students, including alumni or even recent graduates. You don’t need to cast as wide a net as you do when recruiting undergraduate students: you are marketing one course which focuses on one industry, so your audience is limited to professionals in that field. Your target is individuals who are established in their fields, but who still have room to grow professionally. One of the most valuable resources you can use for this is a software system that can deliver analytics and information about past students.

You should also consider the personal or home situations of your potential students. After studying data, you may discover that most members of your target audience are adults who lead extremely busy lives. As adults, many are no doubt juggling their personal and professional obligations (for instance, a young woman needs to finish a major project but can’t work over the weekend because she has to care for an elderly relative. Or a working dad is trying to get up to speed with a new project but can’t stay late at the office because his toddler has an ear infection).

Your prospective students are no doubt struggling with their personal lives while trying to advance their careers. Therefore, convenience is paramount. This is completely different from many of your undergraduate students, who at least can prioritize their academic obligations. XenDirect offers an advantage on this front: it allows educators and administrators to utilize technology to help busy adult students. They can simply go online to enroll, pay tuition, monitor their grades, and much more.

Improving the Courses

Data can help you manage your continuing education course beyond marketing. Data from student feedback and evaluations can help educators and education administrators alike revamp and retool courses. Feedback allows you to discover what students enjoyed and what they thought could benefit from improvement. You can tailor lesson plans according to how useful students found the materials. You might even be swayed to modify the course schedule or other aspects of the calendar.

XenDirect has over 250 built-in reports so you can explore every aspect of your program, your students, and more. Because XenDirect helps you with your continuing education course on multiple levels, you can rest easy knowing that data will be hand delivered to you before, during, and after every course you offer. XenDirect helps you maximize enrollment, and thus helps to ensure that your students get the most out of their education.

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Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

More posts by Rick J. Stern

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