Task #6 Communities of Practice

July 12, 2009


Please research which other theorys fit to educational (micro)blogging. Take one of them and develop a small usecase for your future pedagogical field of practice using this theory.

Twitter and Blog as a Communications Tool for Learning Communities

This Concept is based upon Wenger’s Theory of “Communities of Practice”

1. Explanation of the Idea of „Communities of Practice“  by Etienne Wenger:

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are summarized as “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.

Communities of Practice are defined as processes of social learning. The people have common interests in a subject or area. They share ideas, methods, strategies, solutions and innovations.

Following I will point out the three main columns these Communities of Practice are based on.

1. Domain:

The Domains of interest aren’t just loose networks of people; instead the members of the domains are committed to one specific concern.

2. Community:

Members of a specific domain interact and share activities, information with each other. They help each other to learn and understand the main point of the specific theme. They are connected to each other on the Web and discuss specific topics.

3. Practice

The third component of the Communities of Practice is Practice. The members of CoPs are “practitioners”. That means they don’t have interest in a variety of subjects but only in the committed domain. They develop and share helpful tools, experiences, stories, ways of handling typical problems, strategies and methods to gain more knowledge in the specific field.

They develop their practice through a variety of methods, including problem solving, requests for information, seeking the experiments of others, reusing assets, coordination and synergy, discussing developments, visiting other members, mapping knowledge and identifying gaps.

2. Appliance of CoPs for Learning Communities

In my opinion, “Communities of Practice” could be used in schools as a learning and preparation tool for exams.

Students share results and solutions. Communities of Practice will help to learn more rapidly and more effective. Students develop the desire to acquire skills and knowledge e.g. Literacy or Maths skills if other peer members have these skills.

I think it is most practical if teachers found Communities of Practice for their subject and act as a host. On one hand they could be reached directly by the students for help and advice.

On the other hand students will help each other to solve problems, so they can develop an own way of approach.

3. Example

My usecase will concern the preparation for exams.

For final exams students usually have to learn, recollect and understand a broad range of learning matters.

The teacher will found a Community of Practice, which, for example, could be called “Preparation for the Mathematics final exams”.

In this case Mathematics serves as the Domain,

The students and the teacher are the Community and

The results and activities of the Students are the Practice.

The Community has one major goal, which is to pass the exams and to understand the subject.

They will have the means, with the help of their peers, the teacher and the unlimited information of the internet to provide them for successful learning.




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