The neverending aspiration to optimal work/life balance is a pillar of professional life. Bolstered by an abundance of research, articles, and TED Talks, as well as a persistent theme in some of my fave films (Devil Wears Prada, Baby Boom, Michael Clayton), we’re asked time and time again to answer the question: “Can we have it all?”  While I suspect this debate will continue time immemorial, over the weekend, I started thinking about how this quest for balance applies to associations. As membership models and demographics continue to shift, how can associations master the juggling act of keeping current members engaged, while overcoming obstacles and exploring new opportunities? Hint: find the right technology.

An effective learning management system (LMS) can mean the difference between a fun, engaging experience for your members and one that resembles an online defensive driving course (not that I would know).

Yet, according to Abila’s own Member Professional Development Study, this a challenge for associations with only a third or fewer of professionals reporting to be “very satisfied” with their ability to target outreach, run reports, or provide interactive features for their members participating in courses.

In an ideal world, everything from your webinars and webcasts to your continuing education courses, should be run through the same learning platform to guarantee a seamless experience for your learners and staff. Moreover, the LMS should integrate with the association management system (AMS).

One Association’s Success Story

Founded nearly 120 years ago, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) is a national bar association serving approximately 14,000 members involved in the practice of patent, trademark, copyright, and unfair competition law. Their mission includes serving members by fostering their professional and leadership development, and they accomplish this through their AIPLA Learning Center, which offers online courses, live meetings, and educational resources.

When AIPLA leaders heard their webcasting and webinar production vendor was ceasing operations, the hunt began for a new online learning management partner. They ultimately chose Abila Freestone™ to deliver their continuing legal education (CLE), because it seamlessly integrated with their association management system (AMS), Abila netFORUM Enterprise™, while also providing better controls, automation, and immediate access to reports, among other features.

“Our members now register and pay for CLE courses in netFORUM, which then takes them directly to Freestone to watch their content,” says AIPLA’s Educational Programs Manager Raquel Alleyne. “Single sign-on is a tremendous value to members, and a benefit we couldn’t offer with our previous LMS.”

AIPLA’s success story demonstrates the way in which finding the right technology creates the balance necessary to reach its mission-critical initiatives, all while keeping learners engaged. To learn more about the association’s success, check out the full case study.