Essential Question: What lessons might we take from successful (and unsuccessful) OCL Institutional Innovations and from the concept of the Community of Practice (CoP)?
Communities of practice (CoP) are quite literally a community. But not in the traditional sense. I really like quote in Learning Theory and Online Technologies "Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis…. These people don’t necessarily work together every day, but they meet because they find value in their interactions ...However they accumulate knowledge, they become informally bound by the value that they find in learning together. This value is not merely instrumental for their work. It also accrues in the personal satisfaction of knowing colleagues who understand each other’s perspectives and of belonging to an interesting group of people"(Wenger et al., 2002, pp. 4– 5). It sums up that this community is more than just a group and how important having a good structure can be. We have to build up the community in order to gain the knowledge that everyone in the group desires. "Knowledge is thus an outcome or a product, but it is also part of human practice. It is not just a 'thing'; it is formed by communities and reification of practice"
"The Internet is littered with dead and abandoned online communities and special-interest groups (SIGs)" (Harasim 2012). So what can we learn from these? First we need to understand what a CoP can do. Online access has really helped these communities grow due to the increase in available communication. This increase in communication is important to note because it changes how people can communicate. Here is a list of some outcomes of successful CoPs (Cambridge, Kaplan, Suter 2005):
Another aspect to not is how a CoP grows. No CoP starts out at full capacity and there are some key phases that successful CoPs go through. Most successful CoPs follow the follow timeline.
As far as success and failure go there are many characteristics that can help prove a CoP to be successful. According to Baker and Beames (2016) There are several factors that characterize successful CoPs including:
Failure can be predicted based on the following characteristics indicated by Baker and Beames (2016):
Baker, A., & Beames, S. (2016). Good CoP: What makes a community of practice successful? | Baker | Journal of Learning Design. Retrieved September 30, 2016, from https://www.jld.edu.au/article/view/234/239
Cambridge, D., Kaplan, S., & Suter, V. (2005). Community of Practice Design Guide. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/nli0531.pdf
Harasim, L. (2012). Learning Theory and Online Technologies [Kindle Edition]. New York, NY: Routledge.