Disruptive Technologies

Course site for Disruptive Technologies. Exploring identity, community, & design.

Reflections on Wenger’s Community of Practice

Chapter 2 of Wenger’s book discusses “Community of Practice”.  As definition, a Community of Practice (CoP) is a learning partnership where people engage in such partnership and start creating a learning environment by sharing common interests and needs with a set of tools.  This correlates directly to one of the classes themes, Community, and certainly indirectly to the other two themes, Identity and Design.  Wenger, a Social Learning Theorist, discusses the different dimensions of practice that embody community of practice; mutual engagement (identity), a joint enterprise (identity, design), and a shared repertoire (design).

The author goes in detail about how a CoP gets created, what are the necessary components, ground rules, its resources, governance, etc.  Conditions, resources, and demands shape the practice.

A CoP does not necessarily need to be “healthy”, meaning,  there will be fighting, disconnects, arguments, but at the end, it will still be a community of different and diverse personalities, learning and sharing valuable content.

I found this not to be an easy read.  I complemented the reading with other articles from the web, as well as a few videos in YouTube.  Time permitting, I will read chapter 1, as there were a few references in chapter 2 to this chapter.

Here are a few examples of a CoP in the Higher Ed space:


The questions I’d like to pose;

  • Are there learning environments that lack a community of practice?
  • Are there non-learning environments where a community of practice is present?
  • Could the same have been said in a simpler manner?
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    1. I felt the same way Shady. This reading was not easy for me to understand either. I think the visual in your post really clears things up. Great job!

    2. Jay.Loomis@stonybrook.edu

      February 11, 2015 at 3:18 am

      I like the chart with concrete examples – helps me to put the theory in context. Thanks!

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