Relevant to: Practice, Community
Type: tools and resources
Virtual Communities of Practice (CoPs) offer new environments for innovative learning opportunities for groups of people. Careful facilitation of these sites is critical to avoid loss of membership due to negative experiences such as information overload, topic drift, or pointless conversations. This book chapter offers a practical toolkit of best practices, tips and examples from the authors’ work training organsations to launch, facilitate and sustain a successful virtual CoP (vCoP).
Virtual CoPs differ from traditional CoPs in that members of a vCoP can meet as a group in ways unbounded by time or location. The boundaries of CoPs have changed significantly because of changes in organizations and the nature of the work they do – organisations have become more geographically dispersed; relationships between those within an organization and those external to the organizations has changed, not least because of recognition of the growing importance of knowledge to business success; and businesses have also discovered the value of collaborative work, harvesting the learning and experience of its members so that it is available to the whole organization. All of these organizational changes have led to changes in ways CoPs operate.
This summary was developed from the following book chapter:
Kimball L., and Ladd A. (2004) ‘Facilitator toolkit for building and sustaining virtual communities of practice’. In P. Hildreth and C. Kimble (eds) (2004) Knowledge networks: innovation through communities of practice. Idea Group Publishing, London pp 202 – 215.