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 and Beverly Wenger-Trayner
I'm a huge fan of Communities of Practices, I've spent most of my community career focused on building them. Most of what I've learned has been through people, conversations, ideas and content that people share—and within communities.
I love and believe in them so much that I feel they can and should be part of any learning, personal development and career plan. There are many ways to learn, communities of practices can be so powerful from that perspective.
They don't replace qualifications, they support ongoing learning and the ability to understand how others are doing things 'today' and in 'practice'. Importantly, employees should be able to sign up to paid offerings or spend their work time learning from community of practices as part of their allocated training and work budgets.
What kind of communities of practices exist?
The few types of communities of practices that I tend to see in the world at the moment: