Interconnection of Communities of Practice: A Web Platform for Knowledge Management

Interconnection of Communities of Practice: A Web Platform for Knowledge Management by Elise Garrot-Lavoué (LIESP).


Our works aim at developing a Web platform to connect various Communities of Practice (CoPs) and to capitalise on all their knowledge. This platform addresses CoPs interested in a same general activity, for example tutoring. For that purpose, we propose a general model of Interconnection of Communities of Practice (ICP), based on the concept of Constellation of Practice (CCP) developed by Wenger (1998). The model of ICP was implemented and has been used to develop the TE-Cap 2 platform which has, as its field of application, educational tutoring activities. In particular, we propose an indexation and search tool for the ICP knowledge base. The TE-Cap 2 platform has been used in real conditions. We present the main results of this descriptive investigation to validate this work.

I started reading this article because of the similarity of “Communities of Practice (CoPs)” to Jack Park’s “tribes,” which Jack uses to describe different semantic communities. Then I ran across:

The most important difficulty to overcome is to arouse interactions between persons except any frame imposed by an organisation. For that purpose, it is necessary to bring them to become aware that they have shared practices and to provide the available means to get in touch with people from different CoPs.
(emphasis added)

Admittedly the highlighted sentence would win no prizes for construction but I think its intent is clear. I would restate it as:

The most important difficulty is enabling interactions between persons across the structures of their Communities of Practice (CoPs).

Communities of Practice (CoPs) can be and often are based in organizations, such as employers, I think it is important to not limit the idea of such communities to formal organizational structures, which some CoPs may transcend. The project uses “Interconnection of Communities of Practice (ICP)” to describe communication that transcends institutional barriers.

The other modification I made was to make it clear that it is enabling of interactions is the goal. Creating a framework of interactions isn’t the goal. Unless the interactions emerge from the members of the CoPs, then all we have is a set of interactions imposed on the CoPs and their members.

I need to look at more Communities of Practice (CoPs) literature because I wonder if ontologies are seen as the product of a community, as opposed to be the basis for a community itself?

I have done some quick searches on “Communities of Practice (CoPs)” and as with all things connected to topic maps, there is a vast sea of literature. 😉

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