Communities of Practice

  1. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it.
    “the principles and practice of teaching”

I have been asked to respond to the following two questions:

What are your thoughts and experiences with ‘Communities of practice’ – theory and real life observations?

How important is it to belong to and learn with a community (#such as INF537). Given a choice would you prefer to work/learn alone? Why?

Communities of practice are groups of people who share concerns or a passion for something they do – and very importantly learn how to do it better via regular interaction (Wenger, 2011). The following few Twitter interactions, taken from one of many from my previous week of online interactions,  demonstrate this idea very succinctly.

Earlier this week I reached out with a simple question:

I very quickly obtained a response that presented to me an ocean of ideas and possibilities that collided with mine, providing a rich learning experience.

My discussion also led to me bumping into the following tweet that provided an interesting viewpoint on digital pedagogies, which I have been exploring actively over the last few years.

Each of these chance interactions hints at a limitless exchange of ideas that can lead to very meaningful professional discovery.

Over the last six plus years of very active online participation, I have experienced first hand the networked contexts and encounters that I am currently exploring while being mindful of the digital futures of education and pedagogy. It is within these communities of practice where theories of digital learning become a reality. For example, it is where concepts such as connectivism (the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections), paragogy (Corneli & Danoff, 2011) and peeragogy (Rheingold, 2012) become part of my everyday practice and scholarship.

With the digital futures of education in mind, it is here that we need to take our peers and students to allow them to learn that good learning is social.


Corneli, J., & Danoff, C. J. (2011) Paragogy. In: Proceedings of the 6th Open Knowledge Conference, Berlin, Germany. Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2012). Toward peeragogy. DML Central, 23 [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Wenger, E. (2011). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved from


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  1. Interesting narration of how ‘bumping’ in Twitter can support connected and community learning. Thanks Simon.

  2. You only really bump into new ideas if you put yourself in a position to be bumped. You can sign up for Twitter, but never actually browse it. I’m thinking Communities of Practice work best when the participants are open, curious, and passionate. In-voluntary Communities of Practice shouldn’t be a thing, which is something PD designers need to take heed of. And something educators need to as well.

  3. Ideally, all school should be viewed as a community of practice full of open, curious and passionate professionals. But they are not. Our M/Ed journey has heightened as to this all too common disparity b/w rhetoric and reality.

    A solution:

    As Seely-Brown tells us the work-scape needs changing.

    Yet another wicked (social) problem.

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  5. As far as I belong to the community, it’s not very easy to answer this question right away. But if there was a choice to study alone or to keep up with it and develop together, I would choose the latter. Although at my student time I didn’t devote enough time to education. I spent my student years as I wanted, and thanks to this service I could prepare all my assignments on time. Now I have changed my opinions on this matter. And I would even like to try myself in such a community of practitioners.

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  10. Interesting article, thanks. As far as I remember, a community of practice or Community of Practice is a group of people united by similar industrial or other interests, jointly solving problems, regularly exchanging experiences to get better results in life or work. “Internal communities” are organized spontaneously, in connection with the need of employees to work more efficiently, or intentionally, that is, by the company, to solve specific problems. I gathered this information from videos on YouTube in which the authors talk about various methods of collaboration. I managed to find a couple of dozen videos on this topic there, and I noticed that in most cases they were published by accounts to which almost 52 thousand subscribers were subscribed! I am sure in order to achieve such indicators, their owners have repeatedly used services to increase the number of subscribers.

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