Keleher, Patrick and Hutchinson, Steven (2010). Communities of Practice, a social discipline of learning: nurturing a physical and virtual social learning environment. In: World Association of Co-operative Education International Conference on Work Integrated Learning, 3-5 Feb 2010, Hong Kong, China.
Communities of Practice are powerful way of thinking about and exploring the social discipline of learning. Rigorous models for informational and cognitive aspects of learning are well defined, but social dimensions of learning are not so well explored nor are the practices involved in establishing an appropriate learning environment. A workshop conducted by Etienne Wenger was specifically structured to model the practices to establish a social learning ‘space’ and provided an opportunity for participants in the professional disciplines of health, social care, education and business to engage in social learning. The workshop enabled a telling and recording of people’s own learning stories, through individual and group face-to-face encounters and further non-face-to-face communication encounters (within the workshop group and the world) through a range synchronous and asynchronous electronic media, video, wikispace1, blog and twitter. This is a powerful process by which to explore the development of professional practices in a Work Integrated Learning or Practice Based Learning context and illustrates the manner in which transitions or boundary encounters arise and are navigated as individuals explore the ‘landscape of professional practice’.
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