A group of persons with particular skills or expertise who interact formally within an organization, or informally – but routinely – in a network for shared pragmatic or knowledge-related goals. A community of practice is built around shared enterprise or a project that members of the community agree on, and for which they jointly take responsibility.

See also Innovative Knowledge Community


References

Hakkarainen, K., Paavola, S. & Lipponen, L. (2004). From communities of practice to innovative knowledge communities, (2004) LLine – Lifelong Learning in Europe 9 (2), 74-83. (Available for the KP-Lab partners within the KP-Lab intranet)


I would like to know (this question is especially addressed to the pedagogical partners)which are the common points and the differences between the learning that takes places in a community of practice and trialogical learning. It seems to me that the concept of a team of people interacting among themselves trough a knowledge artefact is, in some extent, common to both learning models. As far as I know, the traditional community of practice has been injected new life from the diffusion of Internet and, at a first impression, it seems to me that most of its activities could be classified as "trialogical". Could somebody comment on that?

--Domenico Ponta, 21-Nov-2006

A good question. We have tried to make a difference between communities of practice and "innovative knowledge communities" in an article (Hakkarainen et al 2004). I added a related link and a reference to this above. I think that the notion of community of practice is very important but trialogical learning is more related to the notion of "innovative knowledge communities". Here the abstract of that paper (I did not manage to take a table from that article to the wiki where these two types (or models) of communities are compared - see an appendix of the article for a more detailed comparison):
"The purpose of the present article is to examine the concept of Innovative Knowledge Community (IKC) that appear to help to understand communities typical for advanced knowledge society that the notion of Community of Practice (COP). Even if both communities rely on shared goals, practices and stories, the former diverge substantially from the latter. Firstly, ICKs function in an environment in which the criteria of successful performance are constantly tightening. Secondly, the main focus of IKCs is the production of knowledge and innovations rather than transmitting tradition. Thirdly, there are not so strict differences concerning knowledge and competence between newcomers and oldtimers in IKCS than in COPs; heterogeneously distributed expertise and symmetric knowledge advancement rather than onedirectional flow of information from experts to novice is typical of IKCs. The present analysis relies on a comparison of three models of IKC, i.e., Nonaka & Takeuchi’s model of knowledge-creating companies, Engeström’s expansive learning models, and Bereiter’s knowledge-building approach. These three approaches constitute a novel approach on learning and expertise that we call "knowledge-creation metaphor"."

--Sami Paavola, 07-Dec-2006


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