What is a community of practice?
Definition: Communities of practice are groups of people who
share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it
better as they interact regularly.
The Domain: A community of practice is not merely a club or a network of connections between people. It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people
The Community: In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other; they care about their standing with each other.
The Practice: Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction.
It is the combination of these three elements that constitutes a community of practice. And it is by developing these three elements in parallel that a community is cultivated.