What are Communities of Practice?

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a passion for something that they know how to do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better. Communities of Practice (CoPs) provide an opportunity to create a learning community around an area of interest or practice, to share and develop practice and build personal and professional knowledge and expertise.

A CoP creates a defined 'space' to share knowledge about a specific area of interest or practice, which enables members to address the practical problems encountered in that practice. Other activities include:

  • negotiating what it means to be part of that community
  • developing resources that emerge from member contribution
  • building a unique community identity.

These activities have tended to be sidelined as workplace demands increasingly impinge on academic and professional staff time, hence the need for CoPs.

Communities of Practice at USQ

Originating in 2006, the number of USQ communities of practice (CoPs) has grown to include academic and professional staff CoPs that span the whole university.

For USQ employees wishing to commence a community of practice contact Sandy Sharman, Senior Human Resources Officer (Organisational Development).

Communities of Practice in Higher Education

For research information and resources contact Associate Professor Jacquie McDonald who has been recognised for her expertise in the area of Communities of Practice in Higher Education.