Analysis of Communities of practice

Communities of pattern ( CoP ) are groups of people who portion a concern or a passion for something they do and larn how to make it better as they interact on a regular basis, utilizing cyberspace supported practical platforms.

The construct of CoP is being applied in concern administrations, authoritiess, instruction, associations and societal sectors as they benefit persons, communities and administrations. Organizational benefits include increased operational efficiency, improved cost nest eggs, increased degree of service or gross revenues, velocity of service or merchandise and improved employee keeping.

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Features of a CoP are the sphere, the community and the pattern. The long term success of a CoP depends on the degree of committedness to engagement by its members.

There can be technological, proficient, organizational and cultural barriers to success of a CoP which can halter the degree of engagement and a scheme of practical execution of a CoP in any portion of the administration needs to turn to them.

Powered with advanced multimedia platforms, CoPs are going progressively capable of prosecuting participants from all around the universe in the procedure of community acquisition as the benefits are non restricted to any peculiar degree of engagement. Learning is a important result that defines a community as a community of pattern and, both active and inactive participants benefit from it.

A Community of Practice

A topic such as audio technology is still non much understood by the multitudes, nevertheless, among the practicians, it is of a great passionate value.

Back in 2003, the writer was a pupil of audio technology in India. Equally far as India is concerned, since such a topic does non stand for the mainstream, it is discovered merely by chance and pursued by a few who understand its due importance. A few institutes do claim to learn it the best.

There was no considerable age difference between pupils and instructors. However, instructors were much experienced with the engineering facet of the topic. They could surely supply guidelines to pupils on the footing of their moderate apprehension of the topic and ne’er had a trouble accepting restrictions of their cognition. Though, pupils and instructors played basically different functions, there was a common apprehension of the state of affairs in which they were seeking to derive cognition which had brought them together.

Besides formal schoolroom and studio Sessionss, a important sum of clip was spent by pupils interacting with instructors and other pupils, discoursing and debating subjects embracing cardinal constructs, originative thoughts, established and emerging engineering in the market. There were no physical or clip boundaries within which such interactions would take topographic point. Sometimes, it could be over a cup of tea around the corner of a street or on the patio of the pupils ‘ inn. All of this was complemented with sharing of assorted resources. Helping each other during studio Sessionss in assorted capacities such as ushers, helpers and instrumentalists was a common pattern. There was both a common passion and an compulsion to maintain everyone updated with newer finds in their mundane professional lives.

Classrooms were topographic points where cardinal thoughts were discussed, trials were conducted and formalities were completed. However, it was the changeless flow of penetrations between persons that frequently resulted in a win-win state of affairs. Such is the nature of ‘communities of pattern ‘ .

Social theory of larning

The term ‘communities of pattern ‘ ( CoP ) was coined by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger. They describe it as groups of people who portion a concern or a passion for something they do and larn how to make it better as they interact on a regular basis ( Wenger 2009 ) . In kernel, it is a societal theory of larning based on following three premises – acquisition is basically a societal phenomenon ; cognition is integrated in the life of communities that portion values, beliefs, linguistic communications and ways of making things ; and the procedure of larning and rank in a community of pattern are inseparable ( Funderstanding 2009 ) .

There are three important features of CoP – the sphere, the community and the pattern. The sphere is a specific country of involvement that persons have particular involvement in, which requires their committedness and may non be identified as expertness outside the community. Participants depend on a graduated table of comparative expertness to give them their individuality. The community is a frame of mention for take parting persons to construct trust and relationships whether online or offline to portion cognition and learn from each other irrespective of the degree of their expertness. Learning is a important result that defines a community as a CoP. Practice differs significantly from simple involvement. Practice requires engagement in understanding altering demands of the larning procedure as the community evolves, developing ways of sharing experiences, narratives, tools and ways of nearing jobs and set uping effectual ways of larning. Therefore, pattern requires sustained interactions over clip ( Wenger 2006 ) .

Technological Extension

CoPs are informal webs that exist behind what meets the oculus and have ever existed in our twenty-four hours today lives. At place, at work, at schools, in avocations and trades, every larning single belongs to many CoPs at a given clip. However, a practical universe supported by the cyberspace can supply an extension to the consciousness of an bing existent life community. In writer ‘s experience, most of the pupils did non hold expertness to take part actively in on-line pro sound forums ; nevertheless, their instructors who had necessary resources, ability and experience participated actively in treatments with experient sound professionals through assorted forums sponsored by pro audio magazines, pro sound makers and independent online forums. Students could still profit from their inactive engagement. They would pick new thoughts from assorted forums and utilize them as subjects of existent life treatments. Teachers benefitted at their ain degree and their new acquisition in bend benefitted the community.

Internet offers possible to bing communities, whether existent or practical, to link, merge or subdivide into sub communities. In ulterior old ages, as pupils went on to prosecute their professional involvements, they used practical communities such as Orkut and Facebook to guarantee that the acquisition experience continued. Normally, a peculiar batch of pupils would get down their ain practical community. Subsequently, a few batches together would get down a new community and the smaller communities would discontinue to be. Depending on the changing degrees and types of involvements of persons, new smaller communities would be formed by persons belonging to a bigger community.

Internet can besides give birth to communities which can non be in the physical world which bring persons from around the universe to portion and discuss constructs, thoughts, inquiries and possible solutions and besides to work collaboratively in the digital sphere. One such illustration is which is a community for in writing creative persons.

Benefits of CoPs

Today, the construct of practical CoP is being applied in concern administrations, authoritiess, instruction, associations and societal sectors. CoPs are believed to give rise to an increased degree and flow of cognition within the administration. Reported benefits can loosely be classified into Individual Benefits, Community Benefits and Organisational Benefits. For persons it helps increase accomplishments and know-how, personal productiveness, occupation satisfaction, personal repute, sense of belonging. The corporate engagement benefits the community due to positive impacts on cognition sharing, expertness and resources, coaction, consensus and job resolution, community repute and legitimacy and trust between members. Organizational benefits include increased operational efficiency, improved cost nest eggs, increased degree of service or gross revenues, velocity of service or merchandise and improved employee keeping ( Fontaine and Millen 2004 ) . However, there can be assorted barriers to success of CoPs.

Barriers to success of CoPs

Technological barriers could be in the signifier of undependable systems, incompatible webs, slow computing machines and traffic congestions ( Kimble et al 2000 ) . However, care of energy and engagement in CoPs can be a ambitious undertaking. Technical barriers to engagement can be in the signifier of disciplinary differences between persons, specializer linguistic communication and differences of nomenclature ; civilization of independency giving rise to grasp for a greater grade of freedom and depreciation of unfastened communicating ; high collegiality taking to deficiency of motive to prosecute in practical environment and read-only participants ; deficiency of personal trust, concealed individualities and adopted characters ; deficiency of institutional trust due to possible legal issues related to informations protection and rational belongings, selectivity in information communicating engineering usage, undertaking based use as opposed to pattern based use ; and deficiency of organic structure linguistic communication and face-to-face interaction taking to misunderstanding of messages ( Gannon-Leary and Fontainha 2007 ) .

Organisational and cultural barriers can earnestly halter engagement. Participants may non be clear about what can be posted, they may be afraid that what they post may non be of import, may non be wholly accurate or may non be relevant to the treatment. New employees may believe that since they are new, they have to gain a right to post their positions. Fear of unfavorable judgment and ridicule can coerce people to move as read-only members. Peoples may non post a inquiry if they think that it concerns affairs to which they should already cognize the reply. The procedure can be clip devouring as CoP directors have to verify the truth of entries before doing them explicit ( Ardichvili et al 2003 ) .

The grade of engagement may depend on whether an single belongs to an individualistic or collectivized civilization as values such as modestness, vainglory, shyness due to unequal linguistic communication proficiency, embarrassment and hence a demand to salvage face can differ from civilization to civilization. Regardless of the cultural background, age spread could be an influencing factor. Therefore, more technologically exposed younger coevalss could be less disquieted about salvaging their face, while older coevalss could be more protective ( Ardichvili et al 2006 ) .

In hierarchal administrations, directors may desire to command critical information given out by the lower-level employees. Therefore, among low-level employees it can take to a sensed force per unit area to take part with a fright of perpetrating errors, therefore significantly haltering the degree and candidly of engagement. At the same clip, seniors in the administration may use their subsidiaries to take part as interacting with low-level employees could be seen by them as a menace to their position ( Ardichvili et al 2006 ) .

In leftist civilizations, a individual belonging to a peculiar group in existent life may non portion cognition with members of other group if there are differences between the two groups in existent life. The degree of information billboard can depend on wide situational factors such as the economic backgrounds of states participants are from. In extremely unstable economic systems, the demand to get by with uncertainness and fight can ensue in an overdone demand to protect cognition, therefore film overing the line between what should be protected and what can be shared ( Ardichvili et al 2006 ) .

Outline Strategy of Practical Implementation

A good execution scheme would seek to turn to above mentioned barriers and guarantee structural length of service of the CoP by using a technological platform that can supply flexibleness for future development.

The aims and possible benefits of the community must be communicated to the members across assorted degrees in the administration. Emphasis should be given on the right tone of communicating so that members irrespective of their age, places or cultural backgrounds understand the intended intent of the CoP and are encouraged to take part.

A formal procedure is required to guarantee that the community aims have been thought out exhaustively, functions and duties have been assigned and the content direction issues have been addressed. Cardinal functions would include Sponsor, Community Leader, Subject Matter Expert, Content Editor, Facilitator and Community Member ( DAU 2005 ) . ( Refer Appendix 1 )

It is indispensable to place knowledge countries of premier importance to the employees around which initial roll-out can be planned. That is if employees have been voluntarily engaged in existent life treatments on a peculiar cognition country and could profit well by a CoP dedicated to that country, the opportunities of active engagement and therefore opportunities of credence and apprehension of the construct by a broad assortment of employees will be more. Successful roll-out of one cognition country can promote the procedure of community constructing itself every bit good as outgrowth of newer communities.

The community has to expose value to the members on their first visit. Therefore anterior to the launch it is necessary to maintain ready the content utile in this respect. This will guarantee a community infinite that encourages members to return ( DAU 2005 ) . CoPs are based on the societal theory of larning. Participants alive in their ain physical universe have certain societal and cultural demands which may reflect wrapped around their acquisition demands. As suggested by Ardichvili et Al ( 2006 ) , employees may hold a peculiar penchant for colorss, layout and design. Therefore a good manner to get down is to orient the CoPs to values and cultural penchants of the participants. This will assist guarantee a feeling of belonging and battle.

The ability to bring forth adequate exhilaration, relevancy, and value to pull and prosecute members is critical to success of a CoP over clip. Therefore, attachment to seven design rules identified by Wenger el Al ( 2002 ) can assist make a flexible and improvisational design to accomplish long term ends for the community. These rules should be considered and incorporated during execution every bit much as possible. They are – Design for Evolution, Opening a duologue between insider and foreigner position, Invite different degrees of engagement, Developing both public and private community infinites, Concentrating on value, Combining acquaintance and exhilaration, Making a beat for the community. ( Refer Appendix 2 )

Equally much as possible, existent life events to convey the CoP members together can be organised from clip to clip. This can promote the sense of profusion of the CoP and make full in for the deficiency of face to confront interactions and organic structure linguistic communication to some extent. Knowing other members in physical world can add an excess dimension to the CoP. Such an event can supply touchable community experience for the members which can perchance ensue in an increased degree of engagement by the members.

Finally, as much it is necessary to concentrate on the nucleus aims of a CoP, it is necessary to understand the restrictions of such practical environments compared to the physical world, the psychological effects they can hold on participants and the extent to which they can be good to the members in their existent lives. Although, CoPs tend to germinate on their ain and it is hard to quantify the impact of cognition sharing, within a concern administration, it is necessary to invent methods to understand the impact of such investings.


In order to promote societal acquisition within a common physical location, strategic creative activity of treatment infinites such as cafeterias, gardens and bet oning suites can assist up to an extent, although, non every administration can afford to hold them. Besides, some administrations have physical presence distributed across distant geographical locations. CoPs can widen the range of societal larning beyond obvious bounds of the physical world and can supply a faster and an effectual option.

CoPs are organic in nature and they come into being in the physical and/or practical universe out of peoples ‘ societal and learning demands. A practical CoPs is a gift of cutting border engineering to the world to interact, construct trust, portion cognition and grow in synergism within groups, bing and emerging civilizations, states, across the national lodgers and eventually on a planetary graduated table. They exist every bit long as are needed by the participants, can mutate or discontinue to be. A CoP created with one purpose may undergo several alterations during its natural class and it has the possible to reassign its practical location from one waiter to the other to virtually go immortal.

The figure of practical CoPs is invariably increasing and CoPs are going more and more capable of prosecuting participants by virtuousness of advanced web based multimedia platforms. Unlike existent clip existent life interactions, the cognition sharing procedure in practical CoPs can be clip independent and the cognition shared in digital sphere can be stored and referred back to at ulterior phases in the hereafter. Today, practical universes such as ‘second life ‘ offer platforms for keeping practical conferences. Calculating power is quickly increasing with the aid of advanced engineerings. A 3D universe full of holographic projections of us societal existences may non be far from world. CoPs will go on to be in those environments. Human sort could ne’er interact with each other on such a monolithic graduated table before the birth of cyberspace. Therefore, digital communicating across the cyberspace is non merely a technological revolution ; it is a stepping rock in the class of a mental development for the human race. CoPs which so far existed in our physical world without doing much noise will boom in those practical universes driving this development.


Functions and Duties

A Sponsor is person who believes in the value of cognition sharing, advocates the community within the administration, provides counsel to community leader, long pillows community rank and provides resources for enlargement of the community ( DAU 2005 ) .

A Community Leader is an active member who interfaces with the patron, organises and co-ordinates start up activities, guides the intent and strategic purpose, energizes the procedure by conveying new thoughts, linking members with each other, edifice and keeping engagement and rank by advancing the community and acts as a affair with other communities ( DAU 2005 ) .

A Capable Matter Expert is an active, knowing and experient member, who identifies and maps knowledge critical to the community, helps to set up organising construction, works with the content editor to guarantee that cognition objects are relevant and valid, reviews member parts to guarantee quality and provides procedure analysis expertness ( DAU 2005 ) .

A Content Editor understands what is of peculiar value to the member, manages the procedure of reappraisal and blessing of member parts, communicates guidelines to members for lending cognition objects and originating treatment togss, cross-indexs and submits information from outside the community doing it available to the community ( DAU 2005 ) .

A Facilitator proctors community activity to guarantee reactivity to the members, is an expertness locater, provides expertness about collaborative tools, group kineticss and techniques to assist the community solve jobs and germinate over clip, coordinates coaction and encourages insouciant surfboarders to portion cognition and promoting experient members to go active ( DAU 2005 ) .

A Community Member is a voluntary member who gets value from his/her engagement. He/she is expected to alarm content editor of inaccurate or outdated information, maintain personal information updated, usage CoP for sharing cognition among all members, non to advance personal dockets and market commercial points ( DAU 2005 ) .

Principles for cultivating CoPs ( statements available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // )

Design for Development: Combining design elements in a manner that catalyses the community development.

Opening a duologue between insider and foreigner position: Understanding the potency of the community to develop and steward cognition and taking an foreigner position to assist members see the possibilities.

Invite different degrees of engagement: Supplying different degrees of engagement, leting different degrees of committedness based on clip and involvement and promoting members to take on new functions in the community.

Developing both public and private community infinites: Orchestrating activities both in public and private infinites to utilize the strength of single relationships to enrich events and events to beef up single relationships.

Concentrating on value: Alternatively of trying to find their value in progress, communities need to make events, activities and relationships that help their possible value merge and enable them to detect new ways to reap it.

Uniting acquaintance and exhilaration: Combining familiar modus operandis with adequate interesting and varied events to maintain new thoughts and new people cycling into the community.

Making a beat for the community: Peoples stop take parting as they are overwhelmed when the round is excessively fast. When the round is excessively slow, it makes the community sulky.

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