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Category: Communities of Practice
This resource kit is intended to provide potential and current community leaders with information about CoPs and tools for community development. The resource kit defines the CoP approach and provides templates and guides that can be used to develop a new community or enhance an existing community.
The CoP Resource Kit contains the following sections:
- Introduction to Communities of Practice — Learn about the theory behind CoPs, the CoP approach, benefits of joining a CoP, roles and responsibilities within a CoP, and success stories from current communities.
- Launch a Community of Practice — Learn how to plan and launch a CoP.
- Sustain a Community of Practice – Learn how to encourage ongoing participation and sustain a CoP over time.
- Evolve a Community of Practice – Learn how to manage your CoP over time to ensure you are continuing to meet your objectives and your member’s needs.
- Evaluate a Community of Practice — Recognize the importance of evaluation and how to successfully conduct an evaluation of your CoP.
- Glossary — Discover explanations of terms related to CoPs.
- References — Review the sources used to develop this Resource Kit and a selection of other books, web sites, and information related to CoPs.
- Resources — Explore resources, such as templates, guides, and examples of documents commonly used by new and existing CoPs. Each template is downloadable and allows you to modify as necessary.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE?
- A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals.
- Communities of practice often focus on sharing best practices and creating new knowledge to advance a domain of professional practice. Interaction on an ongoing basis is an important part of this.
- Many communities of practice rely on face-to-face meetings as well as web-based collaborative environments to communicate, connect and conduct community activities.
The term “community of practice” is of relatively recent coinage, even though the phenomenon it refers to is age-old. The concept has turned out to provide a useful perspective on knowing and learning. A growing number of people and organizations in various sectors are now focusing on communities of practice as a key to improving their performance.
This brief and general introduction examines what communities of practice are and why researchers and practitioners in so many different contexts find them useful as an approach to knowing and learning.