Key Elements of A Community of Practice
In this section, we take a closer look at what defines a community of practice.
Communities of practice are similar to affinity groups, but there are some key differences between the two terms. A community of practice is a group of people with a common concern or desire for more knowledge in something they do. The group members learn from each other’s expertise on the topic and work together to acquire more knowledge.
But there’s more to communities of practice. According to Wengner-Treyner Consulting, these groups have three key elements that define what they do and how they operate.
The group is brought together by a shared desire or necessity to learn about a specific topic. Learning may be their motivation for coming together or simply a by-product of it. This acts as the “domain” in a community of practice.
An example would be a nonprofit group with a desire to learn more about a particular cause and use that knowledge to benefit others. Their shared common goal provides the domain for this community of practice.
As the group continues to expand its knowledge, members bond over the collective learning taking place. This connection forms a sense of community collaboration and helps establish a friendly, reliable network each group member can use as a valuable tool.
If that nonprofit group began actively trading information and research, for example, they would create a community.
Establishing a strong domain and community has a direct impact on each group member’s practice. Their interactions spent asking each other relevant questions, sharing information and acquiring more knowledge produce resources that help to enhance their work.
An example of this would be the nonprofit group working together to practice their shared knowledge via working in their field and producing resources for their community. The concept of “practice” reveals the biggest difference from affinity groups — the intent of a community of practice is to produce resources, a clearly defined purpose. By contrast, affinity groups are not quite so purposeful.
Software Features to Consider for Your Community of Practice
Now that we’ve established the core qualities of a community of practice, let’s take a look at some key software features that can help your group prosper.
To truly benefit from communities of practice, members need the appropriate software at their disposal. In our high-tech world full of options, it may be difficult to determine the essentials your group needs. To set your community of practice up for success, the Cureo experts have provided essential qualities to look for in your software.
Co-Editing of Documents
Members of a community of practice need to work together. A great deal of this involves document sharing for reference. Those documents could list best practices, describe various methods and procedures, explain the group’s latest findings and more. If your community of practice is unable to actively review and edit your documents, you face a bit of a challenge. It’s difficult to stay up to date on your practice when you can’t easily amend these documents with the latest information and track the changes.
Use document sharing software that allows your community of practice to review files, make edits and keep track of those edits as a group. Cureo allows you to share files with your whole team, revise documents and track the activity. This way, everyone is (literally) on the same page, and your group’s documents stay both relevant and organized.
Members of communities of practice are no strangers to working on numerous tasks and projects at once. Keeping track of everything on your plate is crucial, and it can be hard to stay on top of due dates and milestones. If something slips through the cracks, there can be consequences. Community leaders should be able to assign, monitor and update tasks whenever it is necessary.
Your community of practice will work best with a digital platform that helps each member keep tabs on their assignments. Cureo’s software is purposely built for successful project management and effective organization.
Along with proper task management, communities of practice works best when leaders can analyze group activity. It’s important to know which team members are actively contributing so you can provide support and stay on the path to success.
Use a program that keeps your community leaders aware of how the group is performing. Cureo’s software is designed to help you track the things that really matter. You can create accountability around action items while also monitoring how those projects are doing. Best of all, your community of practice can anticipate and address problems as you observe what is working and what isn’t.
Charts, graphs, images, videos — your community of practice relies on them all. They’re all important methods of conducting research, discovering valuable information and conveying your findings to each other. To use these methods, your team needs a platform to compile share, and publish its data.
Make sure you have a software tool that includes publishing capability. With Cureo, your community of practice can create charts, graphs, images, videos and more, then showcase them in a sleek, professional manner.
Set Your Community of Practice Up for Success with Cureo’s Collaboration Software
Your community of practice deserves the best. Cureo offers reliable, collaborative software to help you get the job done right.
Your community of practice is ready for continuous collaboration and education. At Cureo, we believe your team deserves the necessary tools to successfully unlock your potential and achieve those goals. That’s the inspiration behind our nonprofit software. We’ve crafted a program that sets you up for success by helping you work better together and act with greater efficiency by using features such as:
- File sharing tools, shared calendars, task management, publishing, discussion groups and activity tracking
- Integration with existing email, calendar and website platforms
- Effective communication, not email purgatory
- Integration with membership platforms and CRM
Our team of experts is passionate about bringing you the best alignment of resources on the market. We’re confident you’ll see the benefits with our nonprofit software for communities of practice. If you’re ready to see the power of Cureo in action, get started with a free trial today!