Communities of Practice

I love the idea of Communities of Practice (CoP) for many reasons.  A quality discussion can lead a person to a “light bulb” moment. A mentor can offer advice.  A peer can ignite creativity.  The possibilities are endless.

My team at work has an informal CoP – if someone gets stuck on a problem, we turn to each other for ideas.  Sometimes we seek to increase creativity; sometimes we simply want to improve the quality of our work.  We often do this informally but at other times, it’s a bit more organized.

For several months, one of my very creative co-workers – someone who is always striving to improve his work and stay on top of trends – had a designated time during team meetings where he presented the latest trends in eLearning to the rest of us.  He would show us new ideas, and then we would discuss how we could incorporate the ideas into our own work.  The sessions were informal and fun and also similar to an in-person CoP.

Just like adult learning, CoPs can come in all shapes and forms.  They can be in-person or online.  They can be facilitated or collaborative.  They can be formal or in-formal. They can also be on just about any topic imaginable.  There is, however, a common goal for CoPs:  They are an information forum where adults come together to learn, talk, and network. And the possibilities are endless.

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