Communities of Practice are defined as an organized group of professional people who share the same interests in resolving an issue, improving skills, and learning from each other’s experiences.
Community of Practice members:
- Share expertise in and commitment to the focus area.
- Engage in collective dialogue and activities to learn how to enhance similar initiatives.
- Produce a collection of resources. For instance, shared experience, knowledge, tools that informs their work (individually or the field).
Communities of Practice are important because they:
- Connect people who might not have connected on their own.
- Provide a shared space to connect around one another’s experiences.
- Enable dialogue.
- Stimulate learning by promoting self-reflection, coaching, and communication.
- Capture and diffuse existing knowledge to assist members in enhancing their field.
- Introduce a collaborative process to stimulate ideas.
- Produce purposeful actions that deliver results.
- Generate new knowledge.
Learning theories associated with Communities of Practice:
- Constructivist Theory – create new knowledge based on current/past knowledge.
- Critical Theory – address inequalities in institutions.
- Social Learning Theory – observing and modeling behaviors leads to learning.
Role Communities of Practice play in the Shared Competencies:
The goal of each community is to lead efforts in enhancing undergraduate education around the community’s competency area. This goal is achieved by answering key questions and taking actions during the following phases:
- What does the competency mean in various disciplines?
- What are 4-5 key learning outcomes all students should know and be
able to demonstrate?
- What does successful demonstration of the learning outcomes look like?
- What do faculty and staff need to support students in their competency development?
- Who, campus or national experts, can engage faculty and staff in professional development opportunities?
- When will these professional development opportunities take place?
Learn more about two Communities of Practice and their work:
If you are interested in joining a community, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This community has developed learning outcomes and a rubric to assess student achievement. The outcomes and rubric were tested in the inaugural Shared Competencies Academy: Signature Assignments for Information Literacy and Technological Agility.
ILTA Rubric (*pdf)
Rubric development is an iterative process and as faculty/staff use the rubric, your feedback is invaluable to the overall process. This survey collects feedback on each section, learning outcome, and corresponding indicators. Please note we are collecting assignments (instructions and student samples) and other learning experience artifacts to build a library for faculty/staff to reference in their teaching and learning efforts.
This community has identified learning outcomes and created a rubric that will be tested in the Shared Competencies Academy: Signature Assignments for Civic and Global Responsibility in the spring 2023 semester.
This community is currently identifying learning outcomes and will develop a rubric during the spring 2023 semester.
This community is currently seeking members. If you are interested in joining please contact the tri-chairs, Penelope Pooler Eisenbies, Kate Hanson, and Kamala Ramadoss at email@example.com.
This community is currently seeking members. If you are interested in joining please contact the tri-chairs, Kathryn Everly, Robert M Hupp, and Bong Gee Jang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This community is currently seeking members. If you are interested in joining please contact the tri-chairs, Kristen Aust , Aileen Gallagher, and Jonna Ingrid Gilfus at email@example.com.
Learn more about Communities of Practice:
- Cambridge, D., Kaplan, S., & Suter, V. (2005). Community of practice design guide. Retrieved from https://transitiepraktijk.nl/files/Community%20of%20practice%20guide.pdf.
- Communities of Practice One Page Overview (*pdf).
- Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
- Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press.