Communities of Practice

Communities of practice “are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (Wenger, McDermott, Snyder, Cultivating Communities of Practice, 2002 p. 4) This interaction serves as the foundation of learning together – where the community is transformed as much as the individuals through the process of the learning that takes place. The presence of varying levels of expertise within the community allows for this transformation to take place. The community develops a common sense of identity through the interaction, creation of artifacts and tools, and engagement in collaboration.

I am constantly intrigued by the ability of media to facilitate the creation and virtual collaboration that these types of communities need to grow. The type of media utilized provides affordances for that community’s growth – whether the use of blogs for individual expression and formalized commentary to the constant morphing that takes place within the wiki communities to the video mash-ups creating new materials for thought and reflection.

Take this one step further and imagine a world where communities of practice are more than just isolated systems of knowledge, collaboration, and collegiality but are social networks where information that is shared is utilized to inform another community of practice. Howard Reingold’s Vlog featuring Mike Elliot illustrates this very concept – and he says it much better than I ever could.


~ by cdeck77 on August 7, 2008.

5 Responses to “Communities of Practice”

  1. I haven’t watched the video yet, but following that link I found incredible projects.So I just wanted to come back and say thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing the great link to such an interesting video resource!

  3. Talking about the process: have you seen Bruna’s Blog?

    I quote:m ““ Reflect, reflect, reflect.” Those words have echoed in my head ever since I first heard Gabriele Strohschen say them during our first online cohort residential meeting. Gabriele was the master’s program director. She also said, “Trust the process.” I have learned to trust and enjoy the process.”

  4. Many thanks for the find Cathy. I have added it as a resource in the week we look at wikis.

  5. […] in change, wikis Did you know the New Zealand Police Act Review is a wiki!? Nor did I, until Cathy Decker (a participant in the Facilitating Online Communities course) pointed to a very interesting video […]

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