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Thirsty for knowledge

The Education and Knowledge Products Committee supports the need to always keep learning

By Jeff Bettinson, CPM
Focused African Businessman Wear Headphones Study Online Watching Webinar

As IREM upholds its standing as a knowledge-rich institute, the Education and Knowledge Products (EKP) Committee plays a key role in guiding the development and delivery of content that is relevant and useful to our industry.

Our group of dedicated committee members has tackled IREM content from several angles, from the platforms on which knowledge is delivered in an era of rapid digital transformation, to more foundational formats, like publications and courses. We’re also working on projects that will maintain the Institute’s position as a trusted source of industry knowledge. The committee has already completed several projects in 2020, with more to come before the year is done.

New IREM delivery channels and content

One of the really exciting products the committee launched in 2020 is the IREM Learning App, a mobile version of the IREM Learning platform, allowing students to learn on the go. In the IREM Learning App, students can do things like access their course materials, take online courses and attend webinars. They can even download content, similar to Netflix, so that learning can continue when Wi-Fi is not available.

You may have noticed that we also completely redesigned JPM Online with a brand-new look and more searchable content. This fresh digital format turns JPM, which many of us consider a key member benefit, into a constant source of expert insights and useful tips. I encourage you to bookmark JPM Online on your browser now.

We’ve released the next edition of Practical Apartment Management, a mainstay IREM publication that continues to be a time-tested, comprehensive and practical guide to trends and best practices in residential management. The updated edition has today’s marketing and leasing strategies, key amenity and service differentiators for staying ahead of the competition, new trends in technology and property management, and expanded coverage of assessing the investment potential and market value of the property.

And in response to changing demands of the industry, we also launched the course Managing Mixed Use Properties (MXD201), as this asset type continues to see increased development. As a source of knowledge for all asset classes, IREM is uniquely positioned to address this demand. The course teaches key considerations for managing mixed-use properties from maintenance to staffing and budgeting.

This year, IREM will offer over 100 live webinars on topics from CAM reconciliation to leading teams to social media marketing, in addition to on-demand courses that can be accessed and viewed at any time through the IREM website.

IREM responds to COVID-19

The onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020 prompted the EKP Committee to shift IREM’s means of education delivery, initiating a move to a virtual delivery model for many courses. Instructors quickly learned the new platform and were able to facilitate courses to students everywhere. Our responsiveness has allowed hundreds of students to continue uninterrupted on their paths toward a certification.

We’re always trying to find the silver linings during this pandemic, and one such item was the launch of a new IREM podcast—From the Front Lines. This podcast series began as a way to share important information and best practices as managers around the world dealt with the impacts of COVID-19. The podcasts cover pandemic-related challenges—and surprising opportunities—in areas such as virtual leasing, business interruption insurance, cleaning techniques and remote team management.

Timely content, backed by research

As always, our committee has guided development of content. For example, we continue to suggest topics to cover and identify webinar speakers and JPM authors. We have one workgroup, or subcommittee, that focuses specifically on this, to make sure our organization gives members and the industry timely information.

A second committee workgroup has focused on an upcoming revision of the Best Practices: Real Estate Management Service publication. This publication shares over 50 best practice statements organized around four categories:

  • The management company
  • Client relations
  • Management of the property
  • Tenant and resident relations

A third workgroup of the committee has contributed to another exciting project this year—the Job Analysis survey. On a periodic basis, IREM works with a professional psychometrician consulting group to conduct an analysis of the property manager’s role. We use the data to ensure that our course content and exams continue to meet the needs of the profession. This workgroup will review survey results and determine any next steps based on the outcomes of the survey.

Forging ahead

Recent experiences have only served to remind us all that the real estate management industry is vital to our communities and the people we serve. We need a near-constant stream of information on both established best practices and emerging trends in order to do our jobs well and operate safe, successful properties.

IREM’s Education and Knowledge Products Committee is committed to helping managers everywhere get that information and build knowledge for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.

Journal of Property Management

Jeff Bettinson, CPM, is the chair of IREM’s Education and Knowledge Products Committee and an IREM instructor. He is the owner of an iTrip Vacations franchise in Utah, managing vacation rental properties for clients along the Wasatch Front. Read his insights on short-term rental management in the <a href="" target="_blank">Property spotlight column</a> of JPM’s Mar.Apr issue.

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