Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators

Editors, Chris Kimble, Paul Hildreth and Isabelle Bourdon
Publisher, Information Age Publishing

As a two volume set:
Hard cover ISBN: 1593118678 , Soft cover ISBN: 159311866X

As separate volumes:
Hard Cover - Vol 1 ISBN: 1593118635 , Vol 2 ISBN: 1593118651
Soft Cover - Vol 1 ISBN: 1593118627 , Vol 2 ISBN: 1593118643

Volume 1, Chapter 16 - Utilizing CoPs - Concepts in Adult Education Doctoral Study


This chapter describes a case study of a CoP initiative to support student learning and success in a cohort designed adult education doctoral programme in the United States. It addresses how a CoP framework can help students adjust to the rigors, demands and responsibilities of academic study. The chapter includes a description of the academic context and cohort. Four questions are explored. In what ways can cohort designs in adult education study be re-conceptualized as CoPs? In what ways can a CoP orientation help students be successful in formal academic settings? What can be learned from an initiative designed to foster a heightened sense of commitment and community for a learning cohort? What conclusions and recommendations can be made for enhancing future practice? The theoretical underpinnings situate the cohort as a complex CoP. The experiences described unearth some of the tensions that evolve from the emergent versus the designed when implementing CoPs in academia. Findings culminate with ten recommendations for education practitioners. These include utilizing process facilitators, affinity groups, web-based formats, learning journals, and after action reviews; modelling and building trust through disclosure; ensuring role designations and cross-group communications, documenting process, designing instruments for benchmarking participatory patterns and breaking out of the traditional academic calendar cycle.


Jeanne Bitterman