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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. 
-Etienne Wenger

Social learning isn’t new and neither are communities of practice. Now our communities can go online and use technology to learn together.

Steps to Building the Framework for an Online Community

  1. Create a space.
  2. Encourage social interaction along with academic interaction.
  3. Accept that participation will be unequal.
  4. Get to know the community dynamics and the participants.
  5. Act as a steward and nurture the environment. Be flexible.
  6. Don’t over-regulate the environment.

While an ideal community of practice is voluntary and unconstrained, most communities have constraints of some type.  Understanding that your community has a limited amount of time or is made of entirely of participants at the same skill level can help you nurture the community most effectively.

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