Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Outline of work done at the Queensland University of Technology in the field of communities of practice. The authors identify three major themes in the literature: the relation between communities and teams, the resulting need to change academic work practices, and the need to support, harness and integrate the learning. This is a very organization-centric approach to communities of practice, one that I don't necessarily endorse. It isn't about an organization "harnessing" the learning network: quite the opposite - it's about letting go. A learning community is in the first instance a network of individuals who may or may not form teams and may or may not integrate their learning network with their daily tasks (you have to realize, people are training for their next job, not their current one - if you want to "harness the knowledge" you have to thing about employee retention strategies, not of subverting the learning community for your own purposes). See, this is the distinction between the (incorrect) definition of a community of practice as "a group of practitioners involved in a common activity" as opposed to the much better characterization of a CRLFcommunity of practice as "a group of people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise." (Wenger & Snyder, 2000). CRLF

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021 05:40 a.m.