Communities of Practice – making a comeback?

Found on Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development blog:

Communities of Practice: Addressing Workforce Trends Through New Learning Models … from eLearn Magazine

The amount and frequency of work driven by tacit knowledge—complex interactions which require that people handle ambiguity and solve problems based on experience—are on the rise. …

Organizations would be well-advised to shift budgets and resources from formal learning settings to informal situations where the majority of learning actually takes place.

I was part of a CoP at a former organization – when, I think, CoP was kind of the flavor of the month … anytime there was some issue or organizational challenge or whatever – let’s build a Community of Practice around this.

You can just imagine how successful that was (not!)

This article from eLearn Magazine provides basics on CoPs … there can be quite a few challenges to instituting and supporting them in an organization – especially one that is not yet a part of a “we should, and want to, share our knowledge and information” culture.

And that might be the single most important difference between generations … that of expecting to share knowledge and information, and viewing this sharing as much more important and valuable than hording it.

Any rebirth in CoPs is much less about the technology – tech is an enabler (a means). It will be about the nature of the organization’s/team’s culture where networking and sharing (emphasize sharing!) knowledge are seen as desired and necessary behaviors/mindsets.

And perhaps with the NetGeneration’s penchant for social networking via the Internet – this might be the kind of shift in attitude and culture that’s needed for CoPs to thrive.

And we ISD-ers should look to add CoPs to our “bag of tricks” as it were … at least in terms of having conversations with organization’s leaders who will likely become the official sponsors of their use.


About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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One Response to Communities of Practice – making a comeback?

  1. Todd Carmean says:

    We’re using a new avatar technology for our web site and are getting pretty good feedback. I didn’t know if you were aware of it our not.

    What do you think of avatars in e-learning?

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