Communities of practice

The concept of communities of practice was originally developed in the late twentieth century by the educational theorist Etienne Wenger. Wenger suggested that people who share a common goal or purpose can form a community of practice through which they share insights and experiences.

Members of a community are practitioners in a particular area. Communities of practice are defined 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.’ (Wenger-Trayner and Wenger-Trayner, 2015)

Communities of practice come in many forms and can develop wherever a common interest exists between individuals. This could be a shared profession: for example, trainers in a particular area who discuss their ideas and experiences in a shared online space, or it could be a group of practitioners participating in a training programme.

The same principles apply whether the community exists as an online network or meets in person. Active participation in a community of practice enhances individuals’ learning and can also increase their professional networks and recognition.

Further resources

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