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What is a Community of Practice?

Communities of Practice have been applied in social work settings as a valuable mechanism that enables the workforce to engage in a process of shared learning and reflective practice that facilitates effective interventions with vulnerable population groups.

Communities of practice can be defined as a “group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger, 2011)

There are three characteristics of a Community of Practice (Source: Introduction to communities of practice)

The domain: a community of practice is more than a group or a network of people. Its identity is defined by a shared domain of interest, and in this case, this is the Child and Family Support System.  Members make a commitment to the domain, and therefore have a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people.

The community: in pursuing their interest in a domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. Relationships are built that enable members to learn from each other through mutual support.

The practice: a community of practice is also not just a group of people who have the same interest. Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared collection of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short, a shared practice. This requires time and sustained interaction and is more than just one-off conversations

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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