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Communities of Practice

The network of Communities of Practice (CoPs) was formed following a University wide conversation to discuss how best to promote and develop the Learning and Teaching strategy. These Communities were formed for staff to collaborate in the following areas: Assessment, Educational Technology, Student Experience, Classroom Practice, Learning Outside the Classroom, and Curriculum.

For more information, please read the Liverpool Hope Network of Communities of Practice overview document.  

Please have a look at our Communities of Practice Diagram, which illustrates how the network of communities of practice is structured at Hope.

Communities of practice are: 

“Groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.” (Wenger, 2002)

Communities of practice are everywhere. You are most likely a member of several, both informally and formally. Lave and Wenger (1991) were the first to describe communities of practice, as they tried to understand the complex ways in which people learned in apprenticeship style relationships. They discovered that valuable learning occurred as people shared narratives related to everyday practice; that not all knowledge can be  codified; that learning how is not necessarily the same as learning that (Duguid, 2009). They posited that the learning of practice is a socially constructed phenomenon and that effective learning is far more likely to occur when it is done with other people engaged in similar practices with a shared goal.

Communities of practice have three important features:

The Domain

Members in a community of practice, will be organised around a shared domain of interest. For our network, the various domains of our communities of practice were collaboratively generated at the December 2013 Learning and Teaching Day. This list of areas of activity, will act as the identities of the communities that people will organise themselves around. Getting better at each of these areas of activity are the shared enterprises of those who organise in that domain.

The Community

By engaging in the activity of getting better at something together, people will inevitably build relationships; they form a community. Each community of practice will act as a space to share knowledge, information and stories about their practice. They will be a place where you can go for help and a place where you can innovate together.

The Practice

By definition, a community of practice is a collection of practitioners. Consequently, they will develop a shared repertoire of resources built from the shared experience, ideas, narratives and histories of each of the members. We do this as part of our normal practice.

Communities of practice are important in any organisation. They represent the groups of people that are the experts in any given domain of knowledge, they solve problems, enhance current practice and extend knowledge through research. We hope that the communities of practice that develop this year will become the go-to communities for expert opinion on issues, as and when they arise throughout the university. It is excellent opportunity for staff to align themselves with a particular aspect of Learning and Teaching and build a reputation as an expert in that domain.