Communities of Practice in the Netherlands

Posted on Wednesday, 4 June, 2008 by


I was talking with lots of people at our “” day (

We got into discussion about what is a Community of Practice. I always thought the question “what is a CoP and what not” is not too important, the question “is it useful (for yourself or others) to name it CoP” is more important. But I noticed that I became confused when processes for deliberate change and advocating are named CoPs…
For me, in those cases, it is best to think of the social learning processes underlying CoPs and how these can be effective in other situations as well. The term Bev came up with last wednesdaymorning session: “social learning systems” is more precise and more useful than just “communities of practice”.

The “systems” are both soft systems and infra and tools, that exist within and across organizations and that can be made more conducive for social learning.

More discoveries of last monday:

  • Facilitating social learning and social learning systems is sort of hot. “Letting evolve” is the most difficult thing to do for influence – intervention – and instrument focused majority.
  • It is difficult to determine my “trade”; not ICT, not “just” the facilitation of events either.
Posted in: learning log