In the words of Robin Yap and Joost Robben, two leading researchers in social learning,
“The social network society is upon us”
It is time, in other words, to address the business need for on-going training and knowledge development by incorporating social learning technologies to support stronger relationships between business and IT stakeholders in order to contribute to the development of social and knowledge capital across the organization.
Given that education is central to any Community of Practice, it’s important to take a close look at how members share and construct knowledge. Understanding the theory beneath effective instructional design helps to understand why some models work well while others fail dismally.
Setting up an on-line learning environment to support the growth of a Community of Practice can be expensive and shouldn’t be entered into without an understanding of the organizations overall e-learning strategy. Two key components of this strategy will be learning theory and supporting technologies.
There are many learning theories that can be used as a starting point to build a solid foundation for a Community of Practice (CoP) educational model. The guiding focus should be on an andragogical model made up of complimentary established theories which may include problem based learning, active learning, constructivism, and constructionism, to name just a few.
For more on social learning by Yap and Robben check out