Revisiting and Rethinking the Structural Elements of Communities of Practice
European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
Communities of Practice have existed for as long as people have been learning and sharing their experiences. However, it was not until the early 1990’s before the study of these communities gained attention from the research community. Since then, these communities have been studied in many research domains, yet, the core structural elements, which are critical to these communities remain constant - Domain, Community and Practice. In this paper we re-examine the structural elements of Communities of Practice and argue for the extension of these to include aspects on Participation, Learning and Knowledge. We also take a first step in validating these new structural elements by presenting a study that explores how they appear in a known Communities of Practice (the CoderDojo movement). Our research informs the future study of COP from both a theoretical and organizational perspective.