Title: Braided learning: an emerging process observed in e-communities of practice

Authors: C.J. Preston

Addresses: School of Culture, Language, Communication, Institute of Education, University of London, 20 Bedford Way, WC1H OAL, UK

Abstract: This discussion paper explores the emergent theory of Braided Learning observed in the online communication within a mature professional |Communities of Practice| (CoPs) (Wenger, 1992; 2002; 2004). The focus of the study is the online practice of the international MirandaNet Fellowship, which was established in 1992. Evidence of the Wenger approach to learning in the history of MirandaNet is contrasted and compared with the linear five-step model that Salmon (2000; 2002) developed in tutoring online business courses. In the paper, an example of a multi-authored text from the Mirandalink, the internal listserv, is investigated to provide evidence of new kinds of collaborative learning. One key skill that is found amongst members is the e-facilitation of collaborative learning. The conclusions indicate that over time online engagement can provide professionals with a thriving community. A sixth step in professional learning is discovered, which is when the CoP members reinterpreted jointly owned online texts to use in the process of influencing local, national and international agendas.

Keywords: community of practice; CoP; online learning; action research; practice-based research; learning theory; teaching practice; e-learning; web based communities; braided learning; virtual communities; online communities; collaborative learning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2008.017674

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2008 Vol.4 No.2, pp.220 - 243

Published online: 26 Mar 2008 *

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