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A community of practice can for example be
Members of a community of practice don't need to be aware of its existence4).
A community of practice is defined by three elements:
Size, formality and meeting frequency of a community of practice can vary. New members may join a community of practice and existing members can leave. Also, a community of practice cannot be created since this would mean forcing individuals to develop an interest for a specific domain and interact with each other to exchange and develop knowledge about the subject. Still, what can be done is to facilitate emergence of a community of practice and support it.
Some other important characteristics of a community of practice are5):
Learning in a community of practice typically occurs through dialogue and discourse, sharing of ideas and knowledge, collaborative search for solutions to problems. Social learning through interaction with others is here expected to occur.6) By interacting with experts new members of a community of practice increase their expertise and move from the periphery of a community towards its center. This process is called the legitimate peripheral participation7).
The concept of communities of practice has practical applications in business, organizational design, government, civic life and education.8)
Transformation to communities of practice in schools could however be more demanding since education is their primary goal. The transformation can be observed in three dimensions: internally to organize learners into communities of practice around their school subjects, external to connect them with other communities outside school and over lifetime by organizing communities of practice lasting after the schooling period.
Communities of practice are, depending on the point of view on them, subjected to different criticisms. Some of them, identified by Roberts9), are:
Wenger, E. Communities of practice: a brief introduction. June, 2006. Retrieved May 12, 2011.