What are Communities of Practice (CoPs)?
CoPs are “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015). Not everything called a “community” is a community of practice. For example, a neighborhood may be considered a community, but not necessarily a community of practice. Book club members may all enjoy reading novels, but they do not share a practice that expands the field of literature or addresses literacy. Three elements are key:
| COMMUNITY members “engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015).
| DOMAIN is “shared domain of interest” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015), “a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic” (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002).
| PRACTICE is a “shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015).
Why are CoPs useful?
Communities of practice (CoPs) connect people with common goals and interests for the purpose of sharing resources, strategies, innovations and support. CoPs support the transmission and expansion of knowledge and expertise for leaders, learners and professionals in any field or discipline. CoPs contribute to a more connected and collaborative global community in your field of expertise.
What can this site do for you?
You have arrived here looking for information about starting, growing or reenergizing a CoP of fellow leaders/learners/professionals/enthusiasts. Whether you already have an active CoP or you are just starting out, the tools provided on this site are designed to help you consider and strengthen your CoP vision, goals and strategies.
This site is designed to provide you with
1. General CoP life phase information
2. Best practices and examples of CoPs
3. Guided strategy questions to help your CoP identify areas of improvement
Wenger-Traynor, E. & Wenger-Traynor, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.