Communities of practice

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


1.”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”

Reference from:  Wenger, E., McDermott, R. & Snyder, W.M.  (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press,  p.4

2. 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.

Reference from NHS Scotland – Quality Improvement Hub – Communities of Practice


NHS Knowledge Mobilisation Framework module on Comunities of Practice

KM postcards

Communities of practice postcard

Contact [email protected] for the postcard in an accessible format.

Read Enabling Change through Communities of Practice learning paper by National Voices for more information on CoPs and practical advice

eWIN Hot Topic Effective Networks  “Outlines what the evidence says about leading and participating in effective networks in health and care environments.”

eWIN Online Platforms for Networks and Communities of Practice.  An overview of existing platforms produced by the HEE Knowledge Management team.  [Last checked 27/6/18]