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304 Cultivating Communities of Practice (CoP)

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Wednesday, April 12

Tracks: Management & Strategy

At their essence, communities of practice are groups of individuals who voluntarily gather to work together with the goal of improving their practice. Unlike other types of groups and meetings, the true CoP has an explicit focus on learning. Unfortunately, the idea of community of practice has become something of a buzzword and is thus subject to misinterpretation and misrepresentation; with the worst of these there is danger of the CoP being perceived not as an energizing source of help and support but as just another work assignment—an outcome that will lead to frustration and failure. This session focuses on research-based conversation with roots in the work of Etienne Wenger.

In this session you will learn:

  • Top-down, bottom-up, or bootlegged: Which CoPs are most likely to succeed?
  • The four elements of a CoP: learning, meaning, identity, and community
  • About the CoP as a vehicle for sharing tacit as well as explicit knowledge
  • Strategies for group maintenance and cultivation, not “management”

Jane Bozarth

Director of Research

The Learning Guild

Jane Bozarth, the director of research for the Learning Guild, is a veteran classroom trainer who transitioned to eLearning in the late 1990s and has never looked back. In her previous job as leader of the State of North Carolina’s award-winning eLearning program, Jane specialized in finding low-cost ways of providing online training solutions. She is the author of several books, including eLearning Solutions on a Shoestring, Social Media for Trainers, and Show Your Work: The Payoffs and How-To’s of Working Out Loud. Jane holds a doctorate in training and development and was awarded the Guild Master Award in 2013 for her accomplishments and contributions to the eLearning community.