Folder Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice

This category holds discussion and research papers related to the topic of communities of practice, in particular how to build, cultivate and sustain communities of practice.


pdf Communities of practice as stimulating forces for collective learning

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The purpose of this research is to get a clear view on how can we judge groups in relation to the characteristics of a community of practice (CoP), and the presence of collective learning in these groups.
Design / methodology / approach
A review of literature on collective learning and CoPs led to the development of a conceptual model, which was tested through case study research against empiricaldata from three groups in organizations.
The groups differed concerning group characteristics, but also concerning the collective learning processes and learning outcomes present. The group that can be characterized as a CoP learns a lot, but the (learning) processes in the group are not always in favour of the organizational learning process.
Research limitations / implications
The conceptual framework was helpful to evaluate thecharacteristics of CoPs in relation to collective learning. These findings suggest that it will beinteresting to expand the model, for example with consideration to the way CoPs experience the need to change.
Practical implications
The developed framework might help managers to judge if groups in anorganization have characteristics of a CoP, if they are in balance and what might be needed to developtowards an ideal CoP with a great learning potential.

document DISCUSS - Building a European Platform for Communities of Practice

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Building a European Platform for Communities of Practice in Lifelong Learning

Adapted from LLL HUB: “Creating a Virtual Space for Lifelong Learning”

Thomas Fischer, LMU München, Germany

This is the final presentation of and on DISCUSS given at the Lifelong Learning LLL-AGORA, which took place on 07 and 08 March 2015 in Mechelen, Belgium.

The presentation links the technical solutions i.e. the Community Platform of DISCUSS ( and the content developed by LLL HUB (

This European conference presents a transnational pooling of expertise in order to make a comparative analysis of critical factors, identify common challenges and elaborate policy recommendations to improve and promote lifelong learning at all levels.

Around 250 national experts from across Europe, as well as high-level EU decision-makers and key stakeholders, will gather in Mechelen in order to exchange best practices, experiences and views. The main goal is to create a (real and virtual) space for Lifelong Learning by providing concrete outcomes such as policy recommendations towards the convergence of Lifelong Learning policies and their implementation at the European, national and regional level.

More information on the conference and the programme is available at:

pdf Etienne Wenger: Communities of Practice - a brief introduction

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In this article Etienne Wenger is giving short answers to the following four questions: What are communities of practice? Hau are they designed? Where does the concept come from and where and how can it be applied?

pdf Jill Jameson - Bridging the Gap with Teamwork: Collaborative Leadership for Communities of Practice in the Lifelong Learning Sector

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Jill Jameson - Bridging the Gap with Teamwork Collaborative Leadership for Communities of Practice in the Lifelong Learning Sector.pdf

Collaborative approaches in leadership and management are increasingly acknowledged to play a key role in successfulinstitutions in the lifelong learning sector (LLS) (Ofsted, 2004). Such approaches may be important in bridging the potential‘distance’ (psychological, cultural, interactional and geographical) (Collinson, 2005) that may exist between ‘leaders’ and‘followers’, fostering more democratic communal solidarity.

This paper reports on a 2006-07 research project funded by theCentre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) that aimed to collect and analyse data on ‘collaborative leadership’ (CL) in thelearning and skills sector. The project investigated collaborative leadership and its potential for benefiting staff through trust andknowledge-sharing in communities of practice (CoPs). The project forms part of longer-term educational research investigating leadership within an emancipatory action research critical theory framework, in which a research team is trialling improvementsin leadership, management and professionalism by modelling the work of CoPs using a collaborative inquiry process (Jameson etal., 2006).

Dr Jill Jameson, The University of Greenwich

Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 3-6 September 2008

pdf Kristina Lerman, Xiaoran Yan, and Xin-Zeng Wu: The Majority Illusion in Social Networks,

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the majority illusion in social networks.pdf

Social behaviors are often contagious, spreading through a population as individuals imitate the decisions and choices of others. A variety of global phenomena, from innovation adoption to the emergence of social norms and political movements, arise as a result of people following a simple local rule, such as copy what others are doing. However, individuals often lack global knowledge of the behaviors of others and must estimate them from the observations of their friends’ behaviors. In some cases, the structure of the underlying social network can dramatically skew an individual’s local observations, making a behavior appear far more common locally than it is globally.

We trace the origins of this phenomenon, which we call “the majority illusion,” to the friendship paradox in social networks. As a result of this paradox, a behavior that is globally rare may be systematically overrepresented in the local neighborhoods of many people, i.e., among their friends. Thus, the “majority illusion” may facilitate the spread of social contagions in networks and also explain why systematic biases in social perceptions, for example, of risky behavior, arise. Using synthetic and real-world networks, we explore how the “majority illusion” depends on network structure and develop a statistical model to calculate its magnitude in a network.