Communities of Practice

29 Sep

Don’t blink. You are likely to miss something. There is so much change happening in the way we communicate and collaborate within associations that it is difficult just to keep up. Luckily, one of the advantages of all this change is that it helps bring your members closer together, and helps them to benefit from the collective power of the whole.

Take for example the problem of continuing education within associations. One of the main ways in which professional organizations have served their members is through formal continuing education courses. In the past, physical presence at a training location or (at best) a computer-based training system,where members have little or no contact with one another, were considered the most efficient ways to keep members informed, their training current.

But formal courses are not the only aspect of the ongoing process of education that has become part of almost all of our careers. The members of your organization have a huge body of knowledge about the practical realities of working in the field. What is needed is a way to leverage this knowledge; enter communities of practice.

Most association members are dedicated individuals who want to do their part to help the greater good of the community, and will work together to help one another when called. Taking advantage of online tools, we can network these individuals together and have everyone benefit from the collective expertise of the entire membership. Properly executed, members are empowered to be more active and collaborative than ever.

When you start your search for tools that will make this possible, the “usual suspects” are the first to come up in conversation: Facebook, Twitter and now even Google+ has caused rumblings among the tech savvy folks in your organization, be sure of that. Each have their advantages, and each have their own limitations. However, on the whole, these services are addressed at the public as a whole. Although they provide some control over privacy, they are not geared to creating inherently private communities. And although they provide some measure of support for collaboration, they have not been designed to support the types of interactions typical for sharing and curating knowledge.

At AssociCom, we are building technology to solve this problem for associations, and give them a secure way to communicate and collaborate with/amongst members. Focused squarely on the needs of associations, organizations and societies, we empathize with the unique needs of those groups to extract the most value out of social networking, and keeping that value where it belongs; at the domain of the org itself.

Discussing a solution to a problem is only the first step; taking action and learning is the next step. That is why we have created the ability for associations to try our software for free, or have the option of joining one of our existing networked groups to experience private social networking first hand. We encourage you to try one or both, and ask us any questions you have along the way. With the tools, strategies and practices of associations changing every moment, it helps to have access to a support system with their finger on the pulse. We are happy to be that support system, so feel free to lean on us anytime. We’re here to help.

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One Response to “Communities of Practice”

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  1. Communities of Practice | Communities of Practice in Teacher Education | Scoop.it - September 29, 2011

    […] Communities of Practice Don’t blink. You are likely to miss something. There is so much change happening in the way we communicate and collaborate within associations that it is difficult just to keep up. Luckily, one o… Source: associcom.wordpress.com […]

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