The community of practice

The community of practice

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:

  1. Reification : accomplishing the task in a collaborative way ;
  2. Participation: active and collaborative as well as equal and custom ;
  3. 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:

  1. Socialisation: sharing tacit knowledge between people who have shared experiences in the same context.
  2. Externalization: the expression of tacit knowledge through explicit forms , is the moment in which tacit knowledge is made ​​available to others.
  3. Combination: knowledge organization now become explicit.
  4. Internalization: conversion of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge again , enriching the person and leveraging knowledge .


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