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Communities of
Learning & Practice:
Basic Design
Considerations
Dr. Apostolos Kostas
Member of Laboratory & Teaching Staff...
Community is …
• Community is the fundamental social environment
where learning and knowledge construction takes
place on ...
Community consists of…
People, common purpose,
social interaction, activity
in space/time
Agency, belonging,
cohesion, div...
Community to… V-community
• Virtual community = social aggregations in the
network, where people join public conversations...
Community of Learning is…
• A community in which members are tied
together by a common interest to inquire a
certain case ...
Community of Practice is…
• A group of people who share a concern, a set of
problems, or a passion about a topic and who
d...
A Typology …
Community of Practice is not…
• According to Wenger et al. (2002) “… a CoP is not
just a Web site, a database, or a collec...
CoP consists of …
 Domain: it is a shared field of interest and
competence, related to members’ commitment and
passion.
...
Cop vs. IMCop
CoP IMCoP
Design Emerge from
existing groups
Top-down
Membership Closed, follows
certain norms
Open, without...
The Big Questions Now…
• Can relationship and trust developed and
sustained in IMCoPs?
• Can tacit knowledge and practice ...
Which are the critical
elements of IMCoPs?
Kostas, A., Sofos, A. (2012) Internet-Mediated Communities of Practice:
Identif...
Critical Elements
MOTIVATORS Short-term Long-term Personal Community Explicit Implicit
Professional Development      
Professional challenge...
SUCCESS FACTORS
personal …
• media literacy level 
• prior knowledge and expertise
• writing skills 
• communication capab...
BARRIERS personal …
• lack of time for a member to engage in various activities
• cultural diversities
• no motives
• high...
SUCCESS FACTORS
technology …
• quick member registration
• member’s security & privacy with security levels
• efficient se...
SUCCESS FACTORS
operational
• security and trust environment 
• clear definition of common goals
• focus on the strategic ...
BARRIERS
design/organization …
• insufficient ICT design and development
• social capital takes time, while the web favors...
A “healthy” community …
Fade out
Now what?
eTwinning is offering a viable environment where
many of the IMCoPs’ success factors can be traced...
Its up to ...
11.	Communities of Learning & Practice: Basic Design Considerations, Apostolos Kostas, Member of Laboratory & Teaching Sta...
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11. Communities of Learning & Practice: Basic Design Considerations, Apostolos Kostas, Member of Laboratory & Teaching Staff, Dept. of Primary Education, University of the Aegean

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Workshop from the PDW for eTwinning Ambassadors, Rhodes, Greece

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11. Communities of Learning & Practice: Basic Design Considerations, Apostolos Kostas, Member of Laboratory & Teaching Staff, Dept. of Primary Education, University of the Aegean

  1. 1. Communities of Learning & Practice: Basic Design Considerations Dr. Apostolos Kostas Member of Laboratory & Teaching Staff Dept. of Primary Education, University of the Aegean Email: apkostas@aegean.gr
  2. 2. Community is … • Community is the fundamental social environment where learning and knowledge construction takes place on the basis of meaning negotiation via peer’s interactions. • It refers to a group of people who live and act in the same geographical area sharing common aims and values.
  3. 3. Community consists of… People, common purpose, social interaction, activity in space/time Agency, belonging, cohesion, diversity Acting together, dialoguing, collaborating, bridging
  4. 4. Community to… V-community • Virtual community = social aggregations in the network, where people join public conversations thus forming a web of interpersonal relationships within the Cyberspace. • Internet community = group of people interacting in a virtual environment, having common goals, specific rules and behavioral norms.
  5. 5. Community of Learning is… • A community in which members are tied together by a common interest to inquire a certain case in depth and learn together, share knowledge and solve problems collaboratively by this process. • A group of people who shares a common goal, works together, respect different opinions, promote opportunities for active learning and develop a collaborative environment for empowerment of membership and new knowledge formation. Learning Communities {reflection, meta- learning} Communities of Learners {enquiry, knowledge- generations}
  6. 6. Community of Practice is… • A group 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. • A group of professionals tied together in an informal manner via their engagement in a common class of problems and efforts to find solutions, thus comprising a potential inventory of shared knowledge and expertise
  7. 7. A Typology …
  8. 8. Community of Practice is not… • According to Wenger et al. (2002) “… a CoP is not just a Web site, a database, or a collection of best practices. It is a group of people who interact, learn together, build relationships, and in the process develop a sense of belonging and mutual commitment…”(p.34) E. Wenger, R. McDermott, W. Snyder, “Cultivating Communities of Practice: A guide to Managing Knowledge”, Harvard Business Review, pp. 139–145, 2002.
  9. 9. CoP consists of …  Domain: it is a shared field of interest and competence, related to members’ commitment and passion.  Community: it is a group of people engaging in joint activities, with regular interaction, relationships and mutual trust.  Practice: it is the shared repertoire of experiences, tools, techniques, stories, learning activities engaged to build, share and apply to practice and a sense of joint enterprise.
  10. 10. Cop vs. IMCop CoP IMCoP Design Emerge from existing groups Top-down Membership Closed, follows certain norms Open, without certain norms. Identification is based on an idea or a task, rather than the place, with more fluid formal boundaries, less dominated norms and greater flexibility [18, 21] Leadership Emerge from the community Pre-Assigned Communication Face-to-face ICT-mediated Development Less Time More Time: virtual community is the designed community, whereas the CoP is what emerges from the designed community ICT Plays no role “Place” in virtual communities is substituted by the Web
  11. 11. The Big Questions Now… • Can relationship and trust developed and sustained in IMCoPs? • Can tacit knowledge and practice be shared within IMCoPs?
  12. 12. Which are the critical elements of IMCoPs? Kostas, A., Sofos, A. (2012) Internet-Mediated Communities of Practice: Identifying a Typology of Critical Elements. In Daradoumis, T., Demetriadis, S., Xhafa, F. (Eds) Intelligent Adaptation and Personalization Techniques in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, Studies in Computational Intelligence, 2012, Volume 408/2012, 311-334, Springer Berlin/Heidelberg. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-28586-8_14
  13. 13. Critical Elements
  14. 14. MOTIVATORS Short-term Long-term Personal Community Explicit Implicit Professional Development       Professional challenges encounter ▪   ▪   ▪   Improve quality of processes   ▪     ▪   Reach learning environments  ▪       ▪ Development of synergies   ▪   ▪   ▪ Learning curve reduction   ▪       ▪ Personal Development             Emotional improvement ▪ ▪     ▪ Informal learning activities   ▪       ▪ Reduce project completion time   ▪     ▪   Creativity & innovation   ▪ ▪     ▪ Peer relations & social networking ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪   Resource and Information Sharing             Get answers from experts ▪ ▪ ▪   Experts network formation   ▪   ▪ ▪ Promotion & dissemination of practices  ▪ ▪   ▪ ▪   Resources re-use ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪   Information and knowledge sharing ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ Ethics             Recognizability ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪   Altruism ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪   Common values/vision/objectives ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
  15. 15. SUCCESS FACTORS personal … • media literacy level  • prior knowledge and expertise • writing skills  • communication capabilities • self-control • learning self-organized capabilities • learning self-acting capabilities • learning self-assessment capabilities • learning on reflection capabilities • socialization capabilities
  16. 16. BARRIERS personal … • lack of time for a member to engage in various activities • cultural diversities • no motives • high level of competitiveness • low professional confidence • lack of trust/hide identity • reluctance to innovation and use of new practices and methods • low digital skills/inflexibility • common understandings diversities • modesty/ personal particularities • members are not familiar with knowledge sharing values
  17. 17. SUCCESS FACTORS technology … • quick member registration • member’s security & privacy with security levels • efficient search engine • role management system • dynamic & flexible CMS • avatars • push-pull mechanisms • Usability, reliability and availability of services • user-interface transparency • simulation of face-to-face communication 
  18. 18. SUCCESS FACTORS operational • security and trust environment  • clear definition of common goals • focus on the strategic objectives and sub-objectives of the community • efficient members support • successful cultivation of “feeling of belonging” • balance on typical and non-typical procedures • community assessment and evaluation mechanisms  • pluralism and rhythm on communities’ activities
  19. 19. BARRIERS design/organization … • insufficient ICT design and development • social capital takes time, while the web favors short-terms connections • low interest due to ill design • lack of objectives • lack of common values • lack of support • indistinct practice • lack of a core group • information hoarding/lack of trust • insufficient flow of information • cohesiveness reduction through time
  20. 20. A “healthy” community … Fade out
  21. 21. Now what? eTwinning is offering a viable environment where many of the IMCoPs’ success factors can be traced... Its up to YOU now to utilize all the motivators and build sustainable virtual communities!!! Thank you!

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