Case Study

Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)

While the Institute already offered online, self-paced training for some of its programs, the organization had found that digital offerings weren’t the preferred method of study for most of its learners.


Organization: IREM

IREM is an international institute for property and asset managers, providing complete knowledge to take on real estate management’s most dynamic challenges. That means knowledge prepared for the day-to-day and the one-of-a-kind: from solving the latest tenant crisis to analyzing market conditions.

For over 85 years, IREM members have made IREM the world’s strongest voice for all things real estate management. Today, almost 20,000 leaders in commercial and residential management call this home for learning, certifications, and networking.

The Challenge

When the pandemic hit, all of IREM’s classroom courses were cancelled. As Suzanne Hill, IREM’s Director of Knowledge Solutions, noted, the arrival of the pandemic was bound to have serious impact on both the Institute, which was losing a major revenue stream, and students, who lost the ability to “obtain that certification and continue on that path toward professional development and advancing in their career.” The inability to deliver programs face-to-face jeopardized IREM’s long-term membership health.

A big challenge was figuring out how to replicate the live experience with an instructor in a digital format. “We have students who learn better that way, who want that live Q&A, who want to network with their peers,” explains Hill. Any planning IREM did to expand online offerings needed to take into account meeting “those students where they are and provide that live environment for them.”

SIR was challenged with elearning technology that was unable to evolve with them.

“This whole effort has prompted us to implement new tools within the LMS that will carry us forward into coming years. In partnership with Web Courseworks, we were able to come back to market within six short weeks and get up and running again, maintain that revenue stream and keep our students going through the program, which has just been fantastic.”

Suzanne Hill

Director of Knowledge Solutions, IREM

The Solution

IREM’s learning management system, CourseStage turned out to be pivotal to the success of the switch to remote learning and teaching. The organization immediately reached out to Web Courseworks to talk through options and discovered that much of the functionality built into the LMS could specifically address the challenges IREM faced.

Blended Learning

Classes would be delivered with a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Students could access certain materials prior to their courses within the LMS or around their busy schedules and then show up “live” to the virtual classroom and attend synchronous instruction.

Video Conferencing

Around the same time that IREM began tackling its digital transformation, Web Courseworks was completing work on a new Zoom plugin. This addition to CourseStage enabled instructors to participate in real-time training on delivering virtual instruction, so they could experience it for themselves, and then turn around and use the same functionality to deliver their courses. 


Rethinking Assesments 

IREM looked at the different question item types that were available to them within CourseStage LMS and found they were very robust. That helped IREM build an exam that was going to work – they moved essentially from a live, two-day classroom experience to a live, online, proctored exam completely within the LMS. The exam used to be taken outside of the LMS. Now, it’s all within the system.


The Results

Virtual courses and testing will remain part of the IREM portfolio. In fact, over the next year, the organization plans to convert several other exams to online, proctored editions.


Upbeat results

Between May 1, 2020, when the revised courses were launched, and the end of 2020, Hill estimates that about thousand students would attend the virtual learning programs.

Strong enrollment

Between May 1, 2020, when the revised courses were launched, and the end of 2020, Hill estimates that about thousand students would attend the virtual learning programs.

Certification Continuity

In 2020 IREM had about 300 test-takers tackle their CPM credentials virtually. As she points out, “Without that implementation, we would have lost 300 members to our organization, which is just huge. 


Increased Interest

Interestingly, says Hill, IREM has seen dramatic uptick” — about 25% — in its other self-paced online programs, which don’t include the synchronous instruction.

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