E-Learning Council - A Community of Practice?
I was reading an interesting article Knowledge in Numbers: Communities of practice enjoy renewed popularity by Jennifer J. Salopek in T+D magazine (July 2008 issue) which highlights the characteristics of a Community of Practice. According to Etienne Wenger, who first used the term in 1988, communities of practice are defined by 3 characteristics:
- Domain: A community of practice depends on a shared domain of interest by its members and a committment to that domain--a community of practice is not just a neighborhood or network.
- Community: Interaction, discussion, information, sharing and mutual assistance are vital elements of a community of practice.
- Practice: Wenger emphasizes that members of a community of practice a practitioners. "They develop a shared repertoire of resources, experiences, stories, tools, and ways of addressing recurring problems--in short a shared practice."
The article goes on to say that it is crucial to provide multiple platforms for interaction, such as face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, and video conferences.
I believe the E-Learning Council can grow into a very successful community of practice. However, to be successful, I think we need to increase the feeling of community--the desire to provide mutual assistance. At the moment we have a few people contributing. We need to dramatically increase the number of people and the depth of the contribution.