COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE IN UNIVERSITY: A PRELIMINARY STUDY
Keywords:Communities of Practice, Education, Knowledge Sharing, Students, CULS, FEM
There has been a lot written about the benefits of communities of practice (CoP) in university. The benefit of the communities of practice was described with respect to teachers’ qualification and teaching competencies influencing students implicitly as well as to areas related to the students themselves. Many studies prove the fact that the process of learning is of a social character (e.g. Lave, Wenger, 1991). That is why the communities of practice present suitable environment for collaborative learning which makes the process of generating, sharing and storing knowledge easier. The present paper defines on a theoretical level the concept of the communities of practice and moreover, provides a brief overview of the latest research in the communities of practice with regard to education. Another part of the article focuses on the pre-research of the communities of practice at Faculty of Economics and Management (FEM) Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS). Although the authors conform with the opinion that the communities of practice are a natural feature and spontaneously develop wherever there is a need for sharing implicit or tacit knowledge, the pre-research focused on the verification of this premise in order to continue in the research of a quantitative character. The existence of the communities of practice was verified on the basis of fundamental characteristics following Wenger’s model. Other characteristics, considered significant in relation to the communities of practice by McDermott were also investigated. Based on a group interview the existence of the communities of practice of the students at FEM at CULS has been verified and a conceptual model was created. The determined work prerequisites will be investigated in another phase of the research.
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