Successful and sustainable communities of practice have focused, well-defined purposes that are directly tied to both the College's mission and the priorities of the participants. Purposes need to be defined in terms of the benefits to stakeholders and the specific goals that the community is organized to meet.
Purposes can be categorized into four overarching areas of activities:
Learning and developing practice
Carrying out tasks and projects
Creating new knowledge.
These activity areas create a framework and language for the community to use to understand and document success about achieving the purpose, meeting goals, responding to needs, and making decisions about future actions.
It is through the sharing of information and experiences that members learn from each other, and have an opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally.
The activities of the community need to create a predictable rhythm that sets an expectation around how and when to participate in the community. An integrated, thoughtful combination of face-to-face meetings, live online events, and collaboration over time creates a ‘sense of place’ in the minds of community members.
Sample questions to explore when designing activities:
Sample Plan for One-year Community of Practice
Identify research issues or questions to establish purpose of community.
|October||Follow-up communication from orientation including schedule of webinars, results from survey and roll-up of data generated at orientation|
|November||Webinar #1– Develop and distribute guide one week prior, post readings, deliver, and archive webinar and related PowerPoint|
|December||Webinar #2 – Develop and distribute guide one week prior, post readings, deliver and archive webinar and related PowerPoint|
|January||Webinar #3– Develop and distribute guide one week prior, post readings, deliver and archive webinar and related PowerPoint|
|February||Webinar #4– Develop and distribute guide one week prior, post readings, deliver and archive webinar and related PowerPoint|
|March||Follow-up communication from four webinars, blog posting on related topic and additional information and templates for success stories or final products that will be shared at upcoming wrap-up session|
Report results to sponsor and other partners
Identify any face-to-face meeting opportunities for community members and define how these will be incorporated into the community experience.
Encourage participants to share information about upcoming professional learning opportunities in their regions that might support the learning of the community.