Community of Practice

What is a Community of Practice?

A community of practice is described by cognitive anthropologists Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger as “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 the case of The Global Switchboard, the community of practice revolves around global engagement, which is the process of creating an interconnected global community where all people can freely engage to build a more socially just and equitable world..

In all cases, the key elements of a community of practice described by Lave and Wenger 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)

Learn more about the concept of a community of practice at