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Michigan Credit Union League Home » Information Services » Publications » Contact » 2005 » 1st Quarter » Focus: Education  

Taking On-line Learning to the Next Level

By Ann Jones
MCUL Education and Events Director

From Sault Ste. Marie to Sturgis, the MCUL is committed to delivering timely, affordable, and quality training to credit union professionals. However, we know that the process of learning is a highly individual matter. What works best for “Professional A” might not work as well for “Professional B,” and probably won’t even be close to meeting the needs of “Professional C.”

That’s why we want to be sure our educational opportunities meet the needs of everyone in the credit union — executives, operational professionals, frontline staff members and volunteers — and are suitable for credit unions large and small. Most importantly, we want to have a wide range of options for delivering training.

That’s not too lofty a goal, is it? We didn’t think so, either.

As with any great “work in progress,” the MCUL Education group continues to look for opportunities to add to our repertoire of training topics, locations and formats. Providing feedback on events and participating in the annual MCUL education survey are just two of the ways member credit unions directly influence changes in education content and scheduling.

An excellent example of the power of member feedback is the addition of pre-event workshops at the 2005 MCUL Marketing and Lending Conferences. You asked for more in-depth training, and adding a third day to what was traditionally a two day event allows us to providespecific training on event-related topics. It also allows us to gear the workshops to professionals who may be new to the subject, while still providing advanced content during the conference itself for more experienced staff.

MCUL Education is also focused on the bigger picture, constantly searching for ways to complement our education program. Technology is an indispensable part of this equation. Over the past few years, affordable on-line sessions have become a mainstay of the education calendar. These live sessions work well for all credit unions, regardless of whether they have high-speed or dial-up Internet access. The internet sessions allow participants to view a PowerPoint presentation on their PC while listening to the presenter over a telephone line.

MCUL webcasts offer the added ability to watch and hear live streaming video of the presenter. Since the sessions are conducted in real time, both internet sessions and webcasts offer participants the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the facilitator.

But what if a credit union hires a new staffer or promotes someone who needs specific training — and they need it now? One option is MCUL Custom Training. Our trainers are available to travel to your credit union and conduct on-site training on a single topic for multiple staff members at the same time. Credit unions can even team up or offer custom training through their chapter as a way to keep costs down. It’s a great way for credit unions to receive live training on the subjects that fit their unique needs.

There’s been a growing call for more on-demand resources to help employees and volunteers keep their knowledge and skills up to date. So very shortly, the MCUL will unveil the ideal resource for training one staffer or several on a wide range of popular credit union topics exactly when they need it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Enter Option Two — the new MCUL Online Learning Center.

The Online Learning Center, which is scheduled to be introduced in an education session at the 2005 MCUL Annual Convention and Exposition, is not meant to replace the current educational offerings. On the contrary, it will enhance the current education program by adding another way for credit union staff and volunteers to access the financial and professional training they need to perform their jobs.

The Online Learning Center will be linked with the MCUL Web site, and whether a new staff member needs basic sexual harassment training or several staffers need to get up to speed on Regulation C, up-to-date courses will be available 24/7.

The ultimate goal is for the Online Learning Center to be a learning community, complete with moderated chat rooms and discussion boards where credit union professionals can ask questions, get answers and network with other center users. They’ll be able to search for MCUL live training and webcast session schedules, and the center will also act as a portal to other credit union on-line learning opportunities, such as CUNA’s educational offerings and other courses, books, and learning materials available for purchase.

In its first phase, the Online Learning Center will offer third party courses that can be purchased on an individual basis by credit unions. These courses are written by experts in the financial industry. In later phases, customized content authored by credit union subject matter experts affiliated with the MCUL will be available for purchase by credit unions.

In addition, we plan to offer courses on a subscription basis. And once the Online Learning Center is up and running, CU Village will offer similar services to other leagues across the country.

Lofty goals? Definitely. But in an industry known for exemplary member service, it’s vital for credit unions to have well-trained staff armed with the most upto-date information available. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the Online Learning Center, and just as with our live education sessions, the more feedback we can get from our members, the more we’ll be able to meet your needs. Send your suggestions for training content to

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