Community of practice

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in that area by interacting on an ongoing basis. Keys to this concept include meeting on a regular basis and using information exchanged to improve the organization in some way. Maintaining strong human interaction through communication tools such as interactive Web sites, message boards, chat rooms, e-mail, and videoconferencing is essential. Additionally, these groups will face the same barriers to effective communication that offline groups face. Therefore, differences can be resolved in similar fashion as in face-to-face conflicts, that is, through techniques such as feedback, simple language, active listening, constraining emotions, and watching for nonverbal cues.