Setting up a community of practice? Here are some practical tips & examples!


Setting up a community of practice is the perfect way to help people with the same goal, problem, care or interest bring out the best in each other. Read how here!

Communities of practice in e-learning

Having a common goal contributes enormously to motivation. Because how much more fun is it to work together? And how much more important does it feel when you are not only pursuing a goal yourself, but others also need you to achieve their goal?

Community of practice definition

What is a community of practice?

Communities of practice are groups of people with a common goal, problem, concern, or interest.

Often, communities of practice are aimed at exchanging best practices and gaining or creating new knowledge to further develop a particular profession or field. Communication is an essential part of this.

Characteristics of a community of practice

There are three characteristics of a community of practice:

  1. Binding factor. For example, community members share a shared interest, skill, and/or commitment to a particular topic. This common factor creates a certain basis, inspires members to participate, and guides their learning and the actions they take together.
  2. Fellowship. Through collaborative activities, discussions, brainstorming about solving problems, sharing information and building relationships, the foundation of the community is laid and strengthened.
  3. Practice. Together, the members of the community of practice build a database with sources, ideas, visions for the future, etc. All members can incorporate this knowledge, skills and inspiration into their daily professional practice.

Communities of practice examples

In addition, not every community of practice is the same. There are 4 types of communities of practice.

  1. Helping communities. Provide a forum for community members to help each other with daily work needs.
  2. Best Practice communities. Develop and disseminate best practices, guidelines, and strategies for use by their members.
  3. Knowledge Stewarding communities. Organising and managing a body of knowledge that community members can draw from.
  4. Innovation communities. Create breakthrough ideas, new knowledge, and new practices.

Communities of practice & e-learning

E-learning provides a stable basis for forming, maintaining and further developing communities of practice.

After all, e-learning participants signed up for the e-learning because they want to know something about the specific topic of the e-learning. So this is already something that all students have in common, a binding factor. This forms a good basis for setting up a community of practice.

In addition, online learning platforms offer more and more opportunities to start and maintain an active community. Chatting, live sessions, Q&As, etc. - all ways to connect students. Some platforms also offer (such as Pluvo) create a library where the information collected or suggested ideas can easily be stored and consulted by all members.

The stronger the connection between members, the more likely they are to feel motivated to really dive into and complete the e-learning and perhaps even supplement it with new ideas, knowledge, resources, etc.

For example, when employers offer e-learning to their employees, there is a chance that these employees already know each other. So then the basis of the community of practice has actually already been laid in the workplace. Offering e-learning where the associated community is highly valued is then a very valuable next step in connecting these employees.

Community of practice tips

  1. Be clear about the goal. Make it clear what the goal is and what the community is about. Make sure this matches your target group and makes them curious. Be as clear as possible about this.
  2. Communicate your structure. Are you going to zoom every 2 weeks? Or meet once a quarter? Make sure the structure is clear and everyone puts the dates on the agenda.
  3. Encourage movement. As a facilitator, lead by example with posts and involve colleagues. Agree with each other how often you will post so that there is movement in the community.
  4. Gather feedback. Get constant feedback from the community: what do they think are important topics? And what do they want to talk about more often? Keep developing your community
Do you also want a community of practice starting, keeping up, or further developing? Try Pluvo out for free!

Join Learning Innovators; our own community of practice!

Did you know that at Pluvo, we also have our own community of practice? Our own blood Learning Innovators group consists of e-learning fans who share their knowledge and experiences with each other, so that others can learn from them. Join us and keep adding to your knowledge about e-learning!

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