To improve a practice, it’s good to collaborate with others. The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of British Columbia uses the concept of “Communities of Practice” to support faculty, staff and students.
The convenors of various Communities of Practice at UBC gather regularly. I joined them as a graphic recorder as they brainstormed agenda design.
What is a Community of Practice (CofP) ? Wenger (2006) says “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”
Each part of the agenda should relate to the domain, the practice, and the community. The briefest summary is the domain is the topic, the practice is the doing, and the community is the gathering to reflect on it.
There can be introductions or unstructured time for networking so people can foster their own connections. The second part of the meeting could be designed to include field trip, presentations, group work, or a rotation of technique demonstrations. The closing should include evaluations, delegation and scheduling. In all, this praxis contributes to successful meetings and contributes to the groups’ capacity to theorize themselves as a Community of Practice. It’s the intent of why people are gathering – and helping them to return to further develop the group – that helps build the Community of Practice.
I was asked to provide graphic recording and also do a Q&A about how visuals can support CofP work. There are some great connections between my work and this particular Community of Practice. Participants pointed out that visuals are an important part of agenda design. They can bring people up to date and engage visual learners. Graphic recording can be a tool to attract new people to attend a special meeting/event. Or graphic recording can be a tool that CofP practitioners develop individually and integrate into their own agenda design (exciting!). Maybe with an Ipad? An agenda on flip chart paper that has icons and not just text? Or bringing in photography or other image-based work. One day, it would be fantastic to have a visual practitioner community of practice. There could be one on visual techniques, one on process work …. the list could be quite rich! Who knows where the field will develop in the next 10 years, and I want to be part of that conversation.
To me, it was intuitive that people coming together to talk about their passion would help them build community with each other. One of my main take aways was that this collaboration doesn’t need to be competitive – skill sharing can be expansive, where everyone wins. The process of building the Community creates a broader expertise.
- Sample CoP agendas: http://blogs.ubc.ca/
- Updates from other UBC Communities of Practice: http://blogs.ubc.ca/
- Facilitation learnings: http://blogs.ubc.ca/cops/
This live graphic recording was made in approximately 1.5 hours with 15 people in attendance.