Classrooms as Communities of Practice: Designing and Facilitating Learning in a Networked Environment

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Learning is a continuing social action that takes place through interactions with the environment and other individuals. Forming communities of practice provides participants with an environment that combines knowledge and practice and the opportunity to learn through relationships with their peers and practitioners in the community. This study explores the classroom as a community of practice and examines the role classroom activities have in students' collaborative learning. The study uses a graduate-level public administration course as the case. The classroom activities in this course were designed to enhance peer interaction in the classroom and to facilitate learning by balancing theory and practice. The results of two separate surveys indicate that providing environments that blend practice with classroom knowledge lead to highly positive outcomes. Activities that foster peer interaction result in a dramatic increase in friendship relations between students while leading to only a slight increase in the advice network between students. One reason for this result might be the group projects, which create a silo effect on students and limit their work relationships with peers.


Learning, communities of practice, student's relations

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Sakarya University Journal of Education | 2011 ISSN: 2146-7455