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Foundations of communities of practice: enablers and barriers to participation

Guldberg, Karen K and Macknesst, J (2009) Foundations of communities of practice: enablers and barriers to participation. Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 25. pp. 528-538.

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Identification Number/DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00327.x

This research draws upon community of practice theory to explore the factors that enabled or hindered participation in an online ‘Foundations of Communities of Practice’ workshop – a course that is designed to align with Wenger’s communities of practice perspective. The research used a mixed methods approach, drawing upon log-on and posting data, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to explore participant experiences. The findings show that five dimensions either enabled or constrained participation. These were emotion, technology, connectivity, understanding norms and learning tensions. As enablers these dimensions led to successful participation within an online community of practice, but as constraints, they led to peripheral participation. The findings highlight implications for tutors of such courses. These include the need to (1) assess the technical expertise of participants, particularly when a number of different technological tools are used; (2) find ways to identify and evaluate emotional responses so learners can be supported in managing these; (3) ensure that participants understand the norms of a community; and (4) develop clear induction materials and processes.

Type of Work:Article
Date:2009 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Keywords:communities of practice, Cpsquare, EtienneWenger, learner experiences, online learning communities, peripheral participation,Web 2.0 technologies.
Subjects:LB Theory and practice of education
L Education (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Blackwell Publishing
ID Code:271
Refereed:YES
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