Title: Evaluation of the functional status of learning networks based on the dimensions defining communities of practice

Authors: Celeste Meijs; Fleur R. Prinsen; Maarten F. De Laat

Addresses: Welten Institute, Open University, Postbus 2960 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands ' Welten Institute, Open University, Postbus 2960 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands ' Welten Institute, Open University, Postbus 2960 6401 DL Heerlen, The Netherlands

Abstract: Learning in professional networks is gaining popularity in teachers' professional development. To study how teachers evaluated their networks, we developed a questionnaire called the 'network barometer' to inquire functioning according to three dimensions based on communities of practice theory: domain, community and practice. We studied 21 face-to-face networks. The findings show that the networks were more focused on topics (domain) and social cohesion (community) than on practical relevance (practice) and suggest that more attention should be paid to collective outcomes and building a shared repertoire of teaching practices. The findings were discussed in light of face-to-face networks as well as online communities.

Keywords: learning networks; teacher networks; professional development; social learning; communities of practice; CoP; professional learning community; online communities; virtual communites; web based communities; face-to-face networks; networked learning; informal learning; workplace learning; domain topics; social cohesion; collective outcomes; shared practice; teaching practice.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2016.077755

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2016 Vol.12 No.3, pp.279 - 295

Received: 23 Sep 2015
Accepted: 18 Jan 2016

Published online: 14 Jul 2016 *

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