Focus Magazine - Summer 2014 - (Page 23)

FEATURESTORY Communities of Practice: Learning in Action I By Shawn Andrews, Ed.D., MBA W international development and the hat is a community of Internet. In the training industry, practice? Communities of practice are groups of people communities of practice exist within who share a passion for something biopharmaceutical organizations, in that they do and who regularly professional training associations, on interact to learn how to do it better. the Internet and as standalone The concept and theory of communities. The community, communities of practice was whether it's within or outside an developed by Etienne Wenger and organization, acts like a professional Jean Lave in the early 1990s, but the society, cutting across team, divisional practice has been around as long as and organizational boundaries. humans have gathered to swap stories Online communities usually take and show each other how they do the form of discussion boards, blog things. The original research was done sites or newsgroups, and are generally with midwives in the Yucatan, tailors asynchronous discussions. Here, in Egypt and insurance adjusters in trainers get ideas from others about Canada. new initiatives, According to learn about new Learning about best Wikipedia, the practices is one of the best tools and find group can evolve solutions to issues. naturally because of advantages of training-focused Real-time or the member's synchronous communities of practice. common interest in communities of a particular domain or area, or it can practice can exist in a lunchroom at be created specifically with the goal of work, in the classroom or through gaining knowledge related to their regularly scheduled teleconferences or field. It is through the process of webinars. Organizations often use sharing information and experiences communities of practice to share with the group that the members learn knowledge thematically, across from each other, and have an traditional silos and team work. opportunity to develop themselves While teams focus on work outputs, personally and professionally. communities of practice focus on Where is the concept of learning, and therefore have specific communities of practice being application to the world of training applied, and how can training use and development. such communities? Communities of The Nuts and Bolts practice have a number of practical The purpose of a community of applications in business, education, practice is to share and leverage professional associations and civic life. knowledge and experience, so that This includes the corporate world, each individual can operate more government, higher education, FOCUS | SUMMER 2014 | effectively. By exchanging stories, problems and solutions, the communities can bring its collective knowledge to bear on an individual's or organization's problems. The community can also take various experiences and solutions from each member and build a knowledge asset representing best practices. Learning about industry best practices is often one of the best advantages of participating in training-focused communities of practice. How big are communities of practice? Intense face-to-face communities seldom grow larger than 50 people, and are usually made up of 20 or fewer members. However, small local communities of practice can be bound together into a wider community by communications technology, and a membership of up to 100 or more is not uncommon, especially online. What do they need in order to work? Communities of practice often form spontaneously, driven by the need of the members for operational knowledge. A training workshop or conference often provides the catalyst. Communities of practice can also be 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Summer 2014

Focus Magazine
From the President: Clarity, Community & Career
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Your Network and the Connection Ecomony
Front of the Room: Getting Your Head Right
Neuroscience: Neuroliteracy
Introducing LTEN: The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network
Communities of Practice: Learning in Action
Are We Living in a Post-LMS World?
Member Solutions: Measuring the Impact of Training
Selling as a Team Sport
From the Training Room to the Board Room
The Science of Changing Sales Behavior
Personalized Medicine: The Coming Revolution
Virtual How: Trends in Selling Models
Member News
Ad Index
Focus Contacts
5 Questions with Nigel Brooksby

Focus Magazine - Summer 2014