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Associations are the hub of activity for “communities of practice.” Communities of practice are voluntary. Professionals join to gain access to peers, best practices, and education. What makes associations successful as communities of practice?

  • Relevance
  • Excitement
  • Enabled Social Interaction
  • Education

Traditionally, associations have achieved the above objectives through face to face conferences. Trends and economic factors mean more and more reliance on technology. In the future, associations will rely even more heavily on technology in order to achieve a strong community of practice. I will be attending the American Society of Association Executives Annual conference this weekend in LA as a new member of the Professional Development Council. I hope to learn about and understand new ways associations are achieving their missions through education: both formal credentialing programs and informal use of mobile devices and use of social media.

After going through the list of learning labs available at the meeting, I have found a few that I want to mention, because they seem to focus on those aspects of the eLearning industry that I believe will be of great value to everyone looking to gain an insight into the future and what it holds.

  • Digital Dynamics: The New Look of Publishing (Sunday, 8/22, 3:15–4:30 p.m.) This is a learning lab focused on new technologies that are changing the format of communication, and how to utilize them in your current publications. They will cover tips and tricks from Stratton Publishing & Marketing Inc. about how to maintain a “member-focused print/electronic strategy,” and go over examples of methods that have proven successful in the publishing industry.
  • Learning Made Portable (Monday, 8/23, 8:30–9:45 a.m.) I am particularly excited about this event as it pertains more towards the eLearning industry and its direction in the future as the world becomes more “on the go.” Web Courseworks is currently developing strategies for engaging eLearning communities with mobile applications, and I believe this learning lab will provide a good insight as to how best to actuate our initiatives.
  • Engage Your Members Using Mobile Devices (Monday, 8/23, 1:30–2:45 p.m.) As smart phones become more commonplace in today’s technologically inclined society, developing rich media that can incorporate the computing power of these portable devices is vital. I will be attending this event to collaborate with other mobile solution developers to explore successful approaches to deploying mobile solutions that encourage member activism and participation.

There are more learning labs that are going to be available at the ASAE Annual Meeting, so visit their website at http://www.asaeannualmeeting.org/ to get a full list of events and exhibitors. If you are out in the LA area for the meeting, make sure to swing by the Web Courseworks booth, #625.