A method of sharing knowledge and helping colleagues share ideas, question and learn


”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 this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.”

From page 4 of Cultivating communities of practice  by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott and William M. Snyder and published in 2002 by Harvard Business School Press.

A community of practice (CoP) shares a specific interest that becomes a source of identification. This identity creates a sense of commitment to the community as a whole, not merely connections to a few linking nodes.

A CoP is about creating a ‘doing and learning environment’ for a network of individuals with common problems or interests who get together to:

  • explore ways of working
  • identify common solutions
  • share good practice and ideas
  • learn

Typically they pool resources related to a specific area of knowledge to support more efficient and more effective practices."

From Communities of Practice on NHS Scotland's Quality Improvement Hub.

More information

This postcard described the communities of practice tool in words and pictures.

See the NHS Knowledge Mobilisation Framework elearning module on communities of practice.

Enabling change through communities of practice - a learning paper by National Voices for more information on CoPs and practical advice.

Contact the Knowledge for Healthcare team on [email protected] for the postcard in an accessible format.