In this section, we take a brief look at communities of practice (CoP) — a concept proposed by Etienne Wenger and Jean Lave in 1991, to describe the process of collective learning in an area of shared interest.
Community of practice
Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and who learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
There are three characteristics which distinguish a community of practice:
- Domain: The group’s identity is defined by a shared interest – for example, facilitating the co-operative development and adoption of OER in teaching.
- Community action: Members participate in joint activities and discussions to share information and help each other. Note that a website with a list of members is not of itself a community of practice – the members must take part in activities or discussions to help each other in their domain of interest.
- The practice: Communities of practice are more than just communities of interest. Members actively share practice – for instance, by sharing resources, tools, and ways of addressing recurring problems.
Sharing ideas for practices
Please share your ideas for practices and activities to build a thriving community of practice co-operating on the development and sharing of OER for teaching in your country. Please include the #DS4OERS and #cop hashtags in the body text of your post. For example:
- Set up a digital messaging platform for teachers to support each other in #OER development. This is a #cop idea we should consider in Samoa #ds4oers
- Help teachers in Fiji to create a dedicated #cop list on mastodon which can be used as a support group for helping #OER practitioners. #ds4oers
Search on mastodon.oeru.org using #cop as the search term to see ideas suggested by your peers.
- Lave, Jean, and Wenger, Etienne. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-42374-8. (first published in 1990 as Institute for Research on Learning report 90-0013)
- Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner. (2015). Introduction to Communities of Practice. A brief overview of the concept and its uses