Community of Practice (CoP)

My understanding of a Community of Practice (CoP) is that it is a collaborative learning process that involves the collective wisdom of a group (the community) so that when the individual’s share and communicate their ideas, regularly, (the practice) this enhances the learning for all participants. The key to a CoP is the socialization and interaction that facilitates learning between each member. Its capacity to transform the learning of an individual, compared to what they could have learnt by themselves, is an intriguing study. Want to know more? Get an overview from, Etienne Wenger, one of the theorists who helped first coin the phrase:  

In the staffroom of my current school is a phrase on the wall which I think is applicable here “Each one of us has a piece of WISDOM. No one has all the WISDOM”. I am so grateful that the staff at this school actually believes this to be true and regularly practise this in their collaboration and interaction with each other. We take on a shared responsibility for every individual student and regularly discuss the best possible practice to meet the needs of our school.


6 comments on “Community of Practice (CoP)

  1. I agree with your point about socialization and interactions being the key to CoPs and think as pre-service educators we can take this idea and hopefully transfer it into the classroom.

  2. I agree with your comment about ‘interaction’ giving the COP its ‘capacity to transform the learning of an individual’. This neatly brings together two key aspects of a COP: The interaction being the community and the learning or learning how to do it being the practice.
    Transformative learning can only be enhanced when the COP also provides a community where the learner feels supported in their learning journey through access to a broad range of knowledge.

  3. I like the way you have very easily grasped what a CoP is. I agree that the only way it will work efficiently is the the group of people involved must make regular contributions to help enhance the learning for all the other people who participate. The idea that a group can offer more than just one individual can be compared to a classroom, surely the learning of one students is better enhanced through the collective collaboration of all the other students in the class? Interesting to make the comparison!

    • Thanks Tamarahookens but I don’t think I easily grasped the concept. It is something totally new to me and the only way I could explain it was, coincidentally, listening to my CoP of fellow Uni students. Thanks for your comments.

  4. The comparison you made between how a COP can transform learning of an individual with what could be learn t on their own, proves how beneficial being part of a COP can be.

    • I agree Kylie, but there are just some kids (and probably adults too) who prefer to learn by themselves. I think this will be something we consider when we look at individual learning spaces. We have an autism unit at our school and the grouping of the children has to be managed very specifically. I guess the key is being aware of providing a number of learning styles.

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