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I will be attending my second ASAE Annual Meeting which takes places August 21 – 24, in LA. Last year’s Annual was held in Toronto. I am especially looking forward to this year’s event because it looks like there are a few surprises in store.

 

Due to a cancellation of this year’s Technology Conference, a lot of focus will be put on the learning labs for the Business of Technology track, and I have a feeling it will not be a disappointment.

Associations can create communities of practice

What makes the Association market space so interesting to me and others involved in eLearning is that for individual professional development and for community building, Associations is where it all takes place; or at least, it should. Since taking graduate level courses in Adult Learning Theory, I have been intrigued by Lave and Wengers’ writings on communities of practice.

According to Wikipedia here is the definition. “A community of practice (CoP), is according to cognitive anthropologists, Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession. The group can evolve naturally because of the members’ common interest in a particular domain or area, or it can be created specifically with the goal of gaining knowledge related to their field. It is through the process of sharing information and experiences with the group that the members learn from each other, and have an opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally (Lave & Wenger 1991). CoPs can exist online, such as within discussion boards and newsgroups, or in real life, such as in a lunchroom at work, in a field setting, on a factory floor, or elsewhere in the environment.”

Today it is all about the Internet. Association executives are taking notice of the power of LinkedIn and FaceBook. Social networking and new Learning Management System features and a combination of the two will play a big role in their efforts to build a community of practice and provide certification and credentialing. In the future this means using both formal and informal techniques which will include applications built and delivered by social media platforms, LMS’s, and mobile phones.

I have been reviewing the technology related sessions, so watch my blog for a post on my top picks. These will include sessions on using mobile phones, social media strategy, and a review of association revenue generating initiatives. I am, of course, most interested in following renewed association efforts to make formal online learning a value to its members.

For more information on the ASAE Annual Meeting, 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 my Web Courseworks booth, #625 to say hello.