Toolkits: Communities of Practice
Associations routinely bring together people who have common interests and who can benefit from sharing their knowledge with one another. Communities of practice are collaborative environments often facilitated through virtual platforms. These virtual collaboration platforms offer substantial benefits to association members, who can connect with and learn from fellow members online. By providing value to members, communities of practice and social learning systems reinforce member communities' engagement and attachment to their associations. In fact, effective communities of practice will help engage the most distant members, including very senior and very junior.
The Communities of Practice Toolkit outlines association organizational structures and instructs association managers on how to generate collaborative environments that will attract their members. Strong communities of practice produce strong organizational cultures and satisfied members. An expert in association organizational structure, communities of practice and knowledge management, Hubert Saint-Onge describes how to develop, launch, and facilitate a prospering community of practice in this Toolkit.
Fostering better relationships among association members adds value to membership in a particular association. Building communities of practice and social learning systems, whether online or in person, increases member satisfaction and can also increase associations' overall membership. Included in The Communities of Practice Toolkit are tools, templates, and guidance manuals on association organizational structure that will enable associations to establish their own collaborative environments. These supporting documents offer instruction on the following core concepts:
The Rationale for Communities of Practice and the Benefits
Launching a Community of Practice
The Criterial for Determining the Membership
The Governance Structure and Association Organizational Structure
Conditions for Success
The Supporting and Technical Requirements
The Life Cycles
Developing attractive communities of practice is a resource-effective way to boost member satisfaction, and create a stronger bond between members and more value for membership. By exploiting their members' similarities, association managers can offer something different to their organizations: a new way for members to connect. The Communities of Practice Toolkit helps associations facilitate member connections that extend beyond traditional member events.