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Journal Article

Developing the Communities of Practice, Framework for On‑Line Learning  pp133-140

Pam Moule

© Jan 2007 Volume 4 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp111 - 148

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Doctoral research considered whether healthcare students were able to develop characteristics of Communities of Practice when engaged in an interprofessional online module. Using a case study approach the research included two phases. Within phase one a questionnaire was administered to the group of 109 healthcare students. These were analysed to gain information on which to base sampling for the subsequent phase. Phase two employed three strands of data collection; five students completed an online diary, the online interaction of seven students was captured on a discussion board and three students were interviewed. Data were analysed using a form of pattern matching. The results suggested students were able to develop the essential elements of Communities of Practice. This was not uniformly seen however, and particular issues emerged for the online community. This paper focuses on discussing the contribution of the research to the development of the Communities of Practice framework for online learning. The discussion will review the main findings of the research, showing how these have led to the development of the theory. It offers an augmented framework, in which the elements of mutual engagement, joint enterprise and shared repertoire are enhanced to include those facets necessary to support an online learning community. Finally, it is suggested that the augmented framework may have applicability to other professional groups engaging in online learning and working, with consideration given to how it might support e‑based communities.


Keywords: Online learning, communities of practice, higher education, case study research


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