Community of Practice & Situative Learning

Community of Practice & Situative Learning

Coined by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger a ‘Community of Practice’ refers to a group of people connected by common purpose and/or interest, who learn together within a social dynamic and context.

A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly…..

 In all cases, the key elements are:

The domain: members are brought together by a learning need they share (whether this shared learning need is explicit or not and whether learning is the motivation for their coming together or a by-product of it).

The community: their collective learning becomes a bond among them over time (experienced in various ways and thus not a source of homogeneity).

The practice: their interactions produce resources that affect their practice (whether they engage in actual practice together or separately).[1]

 ‘Situative Learning’ is a model of learning often used to describe how learning can take place for learners within a Community of Practice.

At its simplest, situated learning is learning that takes place in the same context in which it is applied.[2]

Situative Learning is integral to Higher Arts Education students who study Community Music. Working in small Community of Practice (CoP) groups, students develop teaching, creative and collaborative practices while working together on placement and during planning meetings. As Community Music CoP groups often involve students from different year groups and courses working together, a richness of experience, knowledge and understanding is formed within the CoP groups. Furthermore as CoP student groups are paced in highly supportive environments within the community, teaching practice is continuously being nurtured and enhanced.

[1] Wenger, E. & Trayner, B. (2011) (http://wenger-trayner.com/resources/what-is-a-community-of-practice/) (Accessed 10.12.2014)

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situated_learning (Accessed 08.04.2015)

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