As a trade association, you’re balancing the needs of your corporate member organizations and their individual members, working to provide a valuable experience for both. Without an advanced enterprise LMS, it’s significantly more challenging to do so, let alone save time, increase membership, collect non-dues revenue, and more.

If you’re reading this guide, it’s a good guess that you’re on the market for a new enterprise LMS solution. It’s also likely you understand the importance of choosing the right solution (especially if you don’t want to repeat this process in just a few years).

At Web Courseworks, we’ve carefully researched the extended enterprise LMS features that empower trade associations to thrive. With that research, we’ve crafted our own enterprise LMS and perfected our professional services.

Using our knowledge of extended enterprise LMSs, we created this guide to help you choose your next solution through the following points:

Choosing the right extended enterprise LMS can impact every aspect of your association, from the revenue you receive to the members you retain. Let’s dive in.

Planning a virtual conference for associations? Contact Web Courseworks today for assistance.

This section covers an overview of extended enterprise LMSs.

Overview of the Extended Enterprise LMS

Before we dive into the specific features you should seek in a top-tier extended enterprise LMS, let’s cover a quick overview of enterprise LMSs to ensure we’re all working from the same knowledge base.

What is an enterprise LMS?

What is an enterprise LMS?

An enterprise learning management system (LMS) is a training system that has the ability to reach multiple audiences through one platform. For example, this could be used by a corporation training multiple groups of channel partners or a trade association providing eLearning for various member organizations.

The goal of this system is to provide a unique training experience for each audience as well as maintain privacy and separation across these groups. Essentially, if you’re looking for one platform that can function as though each of your audiences has its own unique learning experience, an extended enterprise LMS is the right solution for you.

If you’re reading this guide, it’s a good guess that you’re already working with an enterprise LMS of some sort. But, if you’re also researching essential features, that likely means that your current LMS is failing to support your organization’s learning business effectively.

Before we dive into the specific enterprise LMS features that can elevate your learning business, let’s discuss some of the challenges you might be facing with your current solution.

This section covers the top challenges with an enterprise LMS.

Top Challenges with Ineffective Enterprise Learning Management Systems

Administering eLearning for organizations is exponentially more complicated than doing so for individual members in the case of a professional association. In the latter, you’re providing content and solving challenges that individual members face; in the former, you’re providing content, solving challenges, and creating reports for both individual members and the member organizations that they belong to.

These are the top challenges with an ineffective enterprise LMS.

If your extended enterprise LMS isn’t prepared to assist your team with this increase in complexity, you could face any of the following challenges:

  • High administrative burden. This refers to the amount of time, resources, and energy that your team has to dedicate to administering eLearning for your association. An ineffective enterprise LMS can drastically increase the resources needed to facilitate eLearning. For example, if member organizations are regularly running into challenges using your system, that would lead to many questions that your team has to answer. Or, if you can’t automate reporting for member organizations, that leads to reports that your team needs to pull manually. You may even need to invest in additional software solutions alongside your enterprise LMS, such as virtual event technology, if your original solution isn’t full-featured. This just leads to even more solutions on your teetering tech stack for team members to manage.
  • Inability to grow membership. To increase membership, you have to create demonstrable value for member organizations through an eLearning program that’s compelling, meets learners’ needs, and is easily accessible. A sub-par enterprise LMS can make it difficult for member organizations to generate reports on individual members, discover the ideal learning path for their greater organization and individuals, and register for courses. As a result, these members will see less value in remaining a part of your organization. If you’re failing to retain current members, it will be challenging to grow membership over time.
  • Low non-dues revenue. eLearning can be a steady source of non-dues revenue for your organization, but not if your LMS is standing in the way. When member organizations struggle to discover the best next steps for their individual members’ professional development, they’re not going to continue investing in courses. The same holds true for course registration processes that are a hassle, especially if you’re working with an enterprise LMS that doesn’t allow member organizations to register multiple individuals at once.

To learn more about the ways that your current enterprise LMS may be holding your learning business back, explore our latest downloadable resource: “Overcoming Your eLearning Challenges with an Extended Enterprise LMS.”

Why invest in an extended enterprise LMS?

Why invest in a new extended enterprise LMS?

If you found yourself nodding along to any of the challenges from the last section, we can say with confidence that it’s time for you to begin researching new extended enterprise LMS options.

However, you may still wonder if it’s truly worth the effort— finding a new system, purchasing the system, migrating your data to the new solution, training your team, preparing members for the transition, and more— to switch to a new LMS. If so, here are a few of the benefits for your learning business that can arise simply from investing in a new, upgraded enterprise LMS:

  • You’ll be able to customize training for each unique member organization.
  • You’ll be able to track the training of these unique audiences, learn from that data, and continue improving your offerings going forward.
  • Due to this customized experience, you’ll be able to improve member and learner retention.

And of course, happier members that are able to easily see value in your system will lead to a decrease in administrative burden for your team overall!

This section covers features to seek in your next enterprise LMS.

6 Enterprise LMS Features to Seek When Scaling Up Your Solution

It’s important to note that the benefits from the previous section don’t result from investing in just any enterprise LMS— you must invest in the right solution for your organization’s unique learning business.

Let’s explore six enterprise LMS features to seek out specifically when researching for your next platform, each of which can help you overcome one (or more) of the three main challenges discussed earlier in this guide: administrative burden, decreasing membership, and low non-dues revenue.

Seek co-branded sub-portals in your next enterprise LMS.

Co-Branded Sub-Portals


With co-branded sub-portals, each member organization that uses your LMS has its own unique configuration of the platform.

For example, let’s say that you’re the leading electricians association in the United States and each of your member organizations is a company that provides electrical work for households. Each of these companies should be able to access their own configuration of your enterprise LMS without ever encountering that of the other companies.

This offers a few key benefits for your organization and members alike:

  • Privacy is maintained across organizations with each member only able to access data about their individual organization.
  • You can customize the portals and brand them to each member organization, providing a seamless experience for the individuals completing eLearning through them.
  • Reporting is segmented by member organizations, so you can understand the performance of each organization, members within that organization, and across your association as a whole.

With co-branded sub-portals, you provide a seamless experience for member organizations while simplifying the process of administering eLearning for your team.

Seek an enterprise LMS with learner submission and multi-credit scenarios.

Learner Submission and Multi-Credit Scenarios

Another feature that can improve your organization’s ability to facilitate eLearning for extended enterprises is learner submission of performance details.

When both individual members and member organizations can self-report on their eLearning, this gives members full control over their learning experience. Individual members can:

  • Create a comprehensive portfolio of their continuing education (CE) credits earned.
  • Track credits earned both within your LMS and outside of it.

This adds convenience for individual members and they no longer have to balance a variety of learning tech to track their CE achievement.

These are just the benefits for individual members of your various member organizations. Beyond that, member organizations can have a comprehensive understanding of the courses completed by their individual members. With this information, they can discover where there are gaps in their members’ understandings and invest in additional resources to fill those gaps.

Seek an enterprise LMS with course recommendations and learning paths.

Course Recommendations and Learning Paths

You can then use the comprehensive learning portfolios from the last section, plus automated course recommendations, to increase non-dues revenue for your association.

The combination of these features empowers you to:

  • Provide personalized course recommendations. For both individual learners and member organizations, you can provide automated course recommendations based on past credits completed. You can expand this even further with personalized learning paths that guide individual members toward greater heights, one course at a time.
  • Use push notifications to ensure courses aren’t overlooked. For example, imagine you’ve released a new course that would be a natural fit for one of your member organizations to invest in based on past courses their members have completed. You can use push notifications to inform them of the new release and why it’s a natural complement to their past efforts.

With these features, member organizations are encouraged to invest in courses, which will then increase incoming non-dues revenue. Further, they’ll appreciate the extra mile that you take to improve their eLearning experience and provide the utmost value, and will be encouraged to continue engaging with your association’s offerings going forward.

Seek an enterprise LMS with event capabilities.

Virtual and Place-Based Event Capabilities

Another feature that can help increase non-dues revenue for your trade association is the ability to host virtual and hybrid events.

In 2020, many associations had to either cancel their conferences outright or pivot them to the digital sphere. For some organizations, this meant investing in a virtual event platform alongside their LMS solution. While this empowered them to host virtual events, it also added another tech solution for the association’s members and team to navigate.

On the other hand, when you invest in an enterprise LMS that has built-in event features such as geolocation registration and the ability to take attendance directly within the LMS, you won’t need to invest in an additional solution. Even further, some enterprise LMSs— such as CourseStage Trade— can facilitate full virtual events including video conferencing and the sharing of event resources.

Seek an enterprise LMS with eCommerce and marketing features.

eCommerce and Marketing Features

eCommerce and marketing features can increase the non-dues revenue to your association by making it as easy as possible for member organizations to purchase a course.

For example, the ability to:

  • Purchase course seats and register individuals in bulk removes much of the administrative lift from your member organizations. Rather than signing up each individual member in a discombobulated process, they can do so in one fell swoop.
  • Advertise directly within the LMS allows you to upsell, cross-sell, and promote upcoming opportunities. Whether an upcoming hybrid event or a new course, you can promote it to members without them ever leaving your LMS.

When members can discover the next eLearning opportunity for their organization and invest in it without a complicated registration process, they’ll return to do so again and again.

Seek an enterprise LMS with segmented reporting.

Segmented Reporting

With advanced reporting features, you can gain a comprehensive view of your member organizations and their individual members without a huge administrative lift on behalf of your team.

For example, features like:

  • Segmented reporting, which allows you to review learning progress across your association as a whole as well as by member organization and individual.
  • Automated reporting, which prevents your team from having to pull data manually for analysis.

With an in-depth understanding of your member organizations’ participation, you can discover which courses are most successful and which are the least. You can replicate successful courses, avoid creating others that aren’t beneficial, and recommend courses that your member organizations are most likely to be interested in.

Explore five tips to choose the right enterprise LMS.

5 Tips to Choose the Right Enterprise LMS

When it comes to choosing your next enterprise LMS, you’ll quickly find that there are many top solutions on the market. Beyond evaluating the basic features included in the system, we recommend that you also do the following:

These are tips to choose the right enterprise LMS.

  • Begin your search with recommendations from other associations that are similar in size and scope to yours.
  • Consider the level of support that the LMS provider offers, which can range from basic tech support to full consulting.
  • Read reviews and testimonials, as well as speak with past clients, to understand the experiences of those who have used the platform.
  • Request a demo of the solution to experience it before you invest.
  • Consider working with an eLearning consultant to help you choose the right platform for your association.

The goal is to invest in an LMS that can grow as your association does, meeting your needs for years to come. With a multi-step evaluation process, you’re less likely to be swayed by expansive features alone and more likely to choose a solution with longevity.

Explore the top enterprise LMS solution, CourseStage Trade.

Top Enterprise Learning Management System: CourseStage Trade

To wrap up, let’s discuss CourseStage Trade by Web Courseworks.

CourseStage Trade is the ideal solution for organizations looking to scale up their learning business and overcome their biggest eLearning pain points. This is powered by stand-out features such as:

  • Multi-site enterprise with co-branded sub-portals
  • Built-in marketing and bulk sales
  • eLearning, place-based, live training, and virtual events
  • Self-reported learning features for professional development
  • Segmented reporting
  • Course recommendations and personalized learning paths

And more! However, one of the biggest benefits of investing in CourseStage Trade is that you gain access to the Web Courseworks team. We understand the unique challenges of administering eLearning to corporate member organizations and can help you troubleshoot them. You can even invest in our professional services, such as LMS administration, for additional assistance.

Our team and solutions are at the forefront of cutting-edge developments in the world of eLearning. For example, we recently worked with the Veterinary Medical Association Executives— a subset of the American Veterinary Medical Association— to host a full-fledged virtual event with a single month of preparation time.

Within CourseStage Trade, VMAE was able to:

  • Build a fully branded, mobile-responsive virtual event portal.
  • Offer educational content in multiple formats, including live and on-demand elements.
  • Meet the interactivity needs of members and partners.
  • Trust the Web Courseworks team with all technical and visual aspects day-of, with support provided via a dedicated event Slack channel.

Explore the full case study to learn more and contact our team to request a demo of CourseStage Trade. In the meantime, check out the following additional resources to continue your LMS research:

Contact Web Courseworks today to start planning your next virtual conference for associations.