Learning community: Theories
A powerful learning environment: working in learning communities
Our society is changing very fast. The availability of multimedia means that knowledge is available ever quicker and more easily. The key question about how to inform yourself is no longer that of the accessibility or availability of the information. It is rather the need for the selection of all the available information and the applicability of the available information to the particular situation.
Studying and learning together in a group based on common interests will set in motion a process during which the participants make a selection from the mass of sources and combine the content to form a coherent opinion. This makes it possible for every participant to expand his or her knowledge base, while at the same time adapting the communally assembled knowledge to the particular needs and tasks.
Learning as a group stimulates a range of learning processes. In addition to the learning the content from external sources, there is also the powerful learning from the experience of others. Together articulating and searching for coherence and understanding deepens the acquisition of content. At the same time, group learning can have a big effect on the communal feeling between people. It gives insights into group dynamics and into the role of the individual in a (learning) group. As well as the learning about the content on which the group is focused, it also gives a great deal of self-insight in the area of one’s own learning and knowledge acquisition.
An ever increasing number of volunteers are going to take on the role of process manager for learning groups. The exact content of the role of the manager of such a group will depend upon the working characteristics of that group and on the diversity of learning processes. The manager will no longer be the sole source of the knowledge given to and made available for use by the participants. Rather will the manager supervise and support the process, while at the same time respecting the rights of ownership of each participant.
In the attachment you can find a ppt in which one approach to starting up a group discussion about the creation of a learning community. This ppt can be used as the starting point from which to come to an agreement about how this form of learning can take shape within your own organisation.
This ppt also gives a description of the role that a process manager can assume. A process manager may give support during the starting up of a learning group or when supporting the functioning of the various learning processes while the learning community is functioning.
- Verbiest E., Professionele leergemeenschappen. Een inleiding. Garant, 2016, 121p.
- Van Keulen H. e.a., Professionele leergemeenschappen in onderwijs en lerarenopleiding. In: Tijdschrift voor lerarenopleiders, 36(4), 2015, p. 143 – 160.
- Schelfhout W. e.a., Vakdidactische leergemeenschappen, een antwoord op professionaliseringsbehoeften bij leraren voortgezet onderwijs? De rol van de procescoach. In: Tijdschrift voor lerarenopleiders, 36(4), 2015, p. 63 – 82.
Community of Practice
From cogito ergo sum to communicamus ergo sum
Community of Practice (as a constructionism ‘structure’) involves a concern with the dialogic processes by which human beings, their values, and their commonsense, scientific knowledge and communities are both produced and reproduced in conversation
Community of practice as a community of meaning building
One of the prominent strengths of the constructionist perspective is that it seeks to open the door to a fuller interweaving of disparate communities of meaning – and hence meaning is born in the act of appreciation.
No one’s words or actions, write the authors, have meaning by themselves;
meaning requires “supplementation” or another’s assent, much like a handshake that requires both people to be meaningful.