A Structural Model: domain, community and practice
In spite of having a variety of forms which the communities of practice take a lot of basic structure is shared. A community of practice is an exclusive combination of three fundamental elements:
- A domain of knowledge which states a set of issues.
- A community of people who will care about the domain.
- A shared practice which is developed to be effective in the domain.
The following figure gives the pictorial representation of the structural model which is the domain, community and practice:
Figure : Structured Model
The domain usually creates a common ground and also a sense of common identity. Therefore, a well-defined domain legitimises the community by assuring its purpose and also the value to the members and the other stakeholders. The domain inspires the members to contribute and also participate which will guide their learning and also give meaning to their actions. Having knowledge about the boundaries and the leading edge of the domain will make sure that the members decide exactly what is worth sharing, also on how to present the ideas. It also helps in deciding on the activities which can be pursued and to identify the potential in the tentative or the half-baked ideas.
The community will develop the social fabric of learning where a strong community will foster the interactions and also the relationships which will be based on the mutual respect and trust. It also encourages the willingness to share ideas, to expose one's ignorance, ask the difficult questions and also listen carefully. Community is an important element because, in this, learning is a matter of belonging and an intellectual process which involves the heart and the head. Practice is a set of the frameworks, the ideas, the tools, the information, the styles, the language stories and the documents that the community members will share. The domain denotes the topic which the community will focus on, the practice is the particular knowledge the community will develop, share and maintain. When the community has been recognised the members will expect each other to have mastered the basic knowledge of the community.