The community of practice is a self-organizing system that is developed in three dimensions:
- Field Theme : topic that unites members participating and that can evolve ;
- Community : element that stimulates the sharing of ideas and interactions ;
- Practice: specific knowledge that is shared and maintained.
A COP is composed of a group of people who share a common interest and a code. Within this group applies the mutual aid. Many of these features do not understand how the CoP can be imposed , the soul and sustains an intrinsic motivation. They are based on knowledge, technical skills , but mainly on the know-how. Wenger identifies the COP as a combination of elements that need to inter- act with each other and can not be missing :
- Cooperative Learning ;
- Diversity and partiality ;
- Mutual relations .
In CoP triggers a continuous negotiation of practices and meanings , as training / learning become a place of exchange and require further actions real store (Di Nubila , 2005).
According Wenger order to perform a task in a CoP must intervene the following phases:
- Reification : accomplishing the task in a collaborative way ;
- Participation: active and collaborative as well as equal and custom ;
- Negotiation of meanings: group reflection on what took place .
In these communities, each member provides two types of knowledge : explicit and tacit . The tacit knowledge or implicit knowledge is ” … what you know , but is not expressed because you can not do it or it would be useless : we can know more than we can express …” ( Polanyi , 1966) . According to Becker (1963) the only ‘ learning that comes from the knowledge and practice to real-life situations can be effective and with knowledge, skills and abilities can be transformed into learning expertise ( know-how , the individual and a system of social roles ) . Others who dealt with knowledge tacit were Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) who subdivided the process of knowledge into four phases:
- Socialisation: sharing tacit knowledge between people who have shared experiences in the same context.
- Externalization: the expression of tacit knowledge through explicit forms , is the moment in which tacit knowledge is made available to others.
- Combination: knowledge organization now become explicit.
- Internalization: conversion of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge again , enriching the person and leveraging knowledge .