Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice

Susan Gebhard (University of North Carolina at Pembroke, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-881-9.ch020
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Abstract

Basic social-learning theory presupposes that students and instructors function within community; they share common context, goals, and expectations and, thus, actively work to help one another learn. Instructional environments that reflect this understanding that all participants contribute to the learning process exemplify what is generally called a “community of practice” or a “community of learners” (Ormrod, 2004). Communities of practice involve situations in which teachers structure realistic problems or tasks and then facilitate learners to activate previous understandings, to interact collegially with others, and to apply combined knowledge to work towards a process-based solution. It is important to recognize that communities of practice can extend beyond traditional educational settings (such as school) into family dynamics, corporations, or any other social context.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Communities of Practice: Communities of practice are those instructional environments reflecting an understanding that all participants contribute to the learning process and involve situations in which teachers structure realistic problems or tasks and then facilitate learners to activate previous understandings, to interact collegially with others, and to apply combined knowledge to work towards a process-based solution.

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