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 2, Chapter 7 - Virtual Communities of Practice: A Vehicle for Meaningful Professional Development


This chapter is about the ways in which structure and design of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), combined with deliberate strategies used in the discussion components by teacher educators contributed to the evolution of a virtual Community of Practice (CoP) which proved to be a vehicle for meaningful professional development. The virtual CoP in the study presented here emerged as a way for teacher participants to engage in dialogue about their practice that they reported to be both transforming and transformative. It helped them shift from the role in traditional forms of professional development that casts teachers as 'knowledge receivers' to one in which they became 'knowledge producers'. Strategies for creating conditions that support and sustain a virtual Community of Practice are discussed, along with participants' responses to engaging in a professional CoP. Finally, suggestions for ways in which the virtual CoP model might be expanded more broadly to serve meaningful Teacher Professional Development are provided.


Kathy Hibbert