What are Communities of Practice?

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of practitioners who come together for the purpose of collective learning. The focus is to increase capacity and knowledge through co-learning and sharing, constant communication, and mentorship.

CoPs are …groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.1

Communities of Practice are distinct from other communities, as a result of three characteristics:

Domain


The identity of a community of practice is defined by a particular domain of interest shared by its members. Membership to a community of practice requires a commitment to the domain, which implies that members have a shared competence that distinguishes them from other people.

Community


Members engage in activities and discussions, support each other, and share information in order to increase their competency related to their domain of interest.

Practice


Community of practice members are practitioners who develop a shared repertoire of resources (experiences, stories, tools, methodologies and approaches, ways of understanding issues/topics related to their domain, solutions) in order to establish a shared practice across practitioners within the domain.


1 Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of its concepts and uses.
http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/