Learning is a social activity. We learn through the dynamic interactions we have with people and the world around us. Knowledge does not produce value in isolation from relationships. Communities of Practice are effective because they help bring people together to form relationships that empower learning. Communities of practice can be described as groups of people coming together to share information around a particular topic or area of interest.
Communities are naturally occurring and can be found in every spectrum of human life. A teacher regularly chatting over a cup of coffee with colleagues about instructional best practices is a CoP. Within the business world corporations like HP, Microsoft and Cisco use communities of practice to drive innovation, solve difficult challenges and disseminate information. Organizations like the World Bank make use of CoP’s to drive knowledge transfer and to enhance the visibility of its experts.