Most communities of practice will be time-limited. For many individuals participating in the community, this access to targeted resources, expertise, and professional conversations will lead to significant shifts in thinking and practice that will continue to influence them long after the community has ended.
Developing a legacy plan can dramatically enhance the return on investment of a community of practice initiative. It can be a way of ensuring that the collective knowledge generated through the work of this community is made available to and benefits the broader community.
Continuing the commitment
One way to do this is to create opportunities for participants to document their commitment to continuing their professional learning and sharing their knowledge with colleagues and others.
Sharing collective knowledge
Another strategy for creating a legacy is to consider how new knowledge can be collected throughout the project to be shared with the broader community.
Spread the word
An important component of legacy planning is to identify key audiences and make sure they are aware of and have easy access to the collective knowledge created by the community of practice. As a community is wrapping up, consider sending emails to campus leaders acknowledging the work of participants from their departments or divisions, thanking them for their support, summarizing the results of the community, reinforcing how this new knowledge will benefit other faculty and students, and directing them where to go for further information about the work of the community.