SPAAR’s strategic plan that supports Better Agents, Better Communities is structured in four pillars, with one of them being the Professionalism pillar. Education is a core service provided to members at a low cost, falling under that Professionalism pillar.
On average, SPAAR offers more than 300 CE hours of classes to its members each year, with approximately 5000 of student/participants attending either in-person at SPAAR or virtually in our live Community Campus zoom classroom. SPAAR also brings a variety of CE classes to member-offices by request at no additional charge through its SPAAR Squad: CE-2-Go offerings. As a direct membership benefit, SPAAR takes pride in delivering 80-90% of live education offered FREE, whether in person or virtual.
Why is SPAAR adding a new option to the continuing education provided?
With the pandemic shift, SPAAR added the virtual classroom option to meet members where they are. Kristin Parker, SPAAR's Education Director, reads through post class feedback surveys and had noted an increase in mentions of classes outside of SPAAR's business hours. At the end of 2021, SPAAR's annual survey included a few specific questions pertaining to where and how members complete their continuing education. Her assumption was confirmed when the annual survey results tallied an overwhelming response in favor of SPAAR exploring a new direction of providing continuing education.
"I wanted to gather the data directly from our members' voices - and it was loud and clear when asked if they would use an On Demand style education service if SPAAR provided one. 90% of SPAAR members who answered selected YES!"
- Kristin Parker, Education & Events Director at SPAAR
- 57% of SPAAR Members recently surveyed indicate they receive the majority of their continuing education via On Demand through other providers.
- 63% of SPAAR Members recently surveyed indicate they complete more than 10 hours of CE On Demand each license year.
- When asked if they would use an On Demand service if SPAAR provided one, an overwhelming 90% of SPAAR Members answered “YES!”
- When asked to list the top 2-3 benefits of being a SPAAR member, EDUCATION was mentioned by 38% of the respondents, with “On Demand/Online opportunities” specifically requested.
Kristin used the survey data to demonstrate a picture of where value would be for members and presented options to SPAAR's leadership, seeking approval to develop an On Demand CE platform. With the members’ voices, and approval from Finance and Executive Committees and direction from the Board of Directors, Kristin has begun working on this project to bring a new education benefit for SPAAR members!
What kind of classes will SPAAR be offering On Demand?
The first few classes we build will likely be focused on the courses MN licensees need such as the Required Modules, Agency Law, or Fair Housing hours. Beyond those few, SPAAR is working to identify the wants and needs from our members through a unique survey link they can find at www.spaar.com/professional-development-class-event-idea-submission. Adding the expertise of some of SPAAR's most well-known and respected instructors, SPAAR will develop a solid foundation of new courses for the upcoming On Demand Education library.
If members have feedback and classes they’d want to see SPAAR offer – whether in person, virtual, or on demand… they are encouraged to reach out through this course library survey at any time and/or be sure to submit post-class surveys.
"I review post-class surveys frequently, and as I begin to see a trend, I know where I should focus my efforts of the next great class creation."
- Kristin Parker
What format will the classes be offered? Will it be all reading and quizzes?
Everyone has a different learning style, and while some like and thrive on a style that is primarily reading content and taking tests, many do not. A few SPAAR members have given input and opinions on likes or dislikes from current alternative options they've used, and the general consensus has been a hope for less reading and more video, lecture, or even interactivity style courses. As SPAAR works with vendor partner, Rialto, to create a good experience with courses that use a combination of mixed media, lecture, knowledge checks, and exercises when appropriate.
There is a lot of moving parts to creating a course in general, but there are also many rules and guidelines from the MN Department of Commerce (MN DOC) to follow with regards to meeting standards for an approved class offered On Demand, or distance learning, as they call it. The one thing licensees have to remember is no matter where they take their education – whether in person, in a live virtual classroom, or in one of these On Demand formats, MN DOC has a limit of only earning 7.5 hours of CE per day. So with so many options at their disposal, members should be mindful of that rule - especially as the days tick down to June it can be enticing to want to cram in many, many hours into one night, but that’s not the point of requiring CE now is it?
Can anyone take the CE classes or only SPAAR members?
MN DOC approved CE classes are open to any licensee to take, though the cost may be different, just as it is for in-person or virtual CE classes at SPAAR.
When will SPAAR members be able to start taking their classes On Demand through SPAAR’s Community Campus?
While SPAAR doesn't have a definitive date on when the first few classes will be launched quite yet, they have begun the building phase of the project. Currently, SPAAR Community Campus still only operates with live virtual classes, but members should continue to watch the newsletters and social media for announcements as we move through the summer. The goal is to go live by fall with the new Required Module for next year as well as a few other courses to test with.
Will in-person or virtual classes be going away?
SPAAR members will have the option to take CE classes in a variety of ways – in person at SPAAR, virtually through SPAAR’s Community Campus zoom classroom, or On Demand when it is launched later this year. SPAAR Brokers may also request CE classes in their offices provided by SPAAR from a selection found on the For Brokers page of SPAAR's website. Some classes may only be offered in one setting, while others may be offered in all settings.