Communities of Practice (CoP) and Professional Learning Communities (PLC)
Helping educators help students learn – this is the general purpose of CoPs and PLCs. Both are not new, and evolved as a network to promote peer learning. Many educators take the success of their students personally “If students don’t learn, it’s not their fault. It’s our fault. We are taking responsibility. It makes us better teachers”. (Adams, Caralee, 2009). Both CoPs and PLCs support learning because they put the student first and find ways to help the students learn.
Communities of Practice (CoP ) and Professional Learning Communities (PLC) were both originally designed in the corporate world as a way for peers to get together and discuss a common topic or interest in order to help each other. Both the CoP and the PLC are very similar and as the YouTube video points out “the CoP and the PLC were designed so that people with a common interest can learn from each and share what they know” (Bouchard, 2012). The PLC was designed more for educators at the K-12 level, which of course can be used in higher education as well. Watch the 9 minute video on YouTube below.
Additionally, PLCs are a form of collaboration that will help support teachers. “Researchers and teachers’ organizations universally endorse improving schools through PLCs, and with good reason: PLCs can help you be a better teacher while saving you precious planning time, thanks to the power of collaboration.” (Adams, Caralee, 2009).
CoP and PLC can utilize technology which will essentially enhance the learning environment. Since by definition, CoPs are groups of people with a common interest that would like to learn and collaborate this is a type of networking with peers for information and advice, etc. The internet and social media is a perfect tool for a CoP and PLC to continually collaborate and communicate. CoPs and PLCs can be beneficial in any environment.
Learning about CoPs and PLCs has been informative for my learning activity because of collaboration and teamwork. Not only as educators can CoPs and PLCs be beneficial but for students as well. What is students collaborated more constructively in the same way? Such as in a “flipped classroom”? What if students had a learning management system that allowed them to turn to their peers for their homework assignments and projects?
How can we in an academic institution take advantage of CoPs and PLCs? If a CoP or PLC doesn’t exist in your environment, then is it possible to introduce it as a worthy and beneficial communication learning tool?
Student Athletes at Becker College – representing teamwork and academics
If you would like to start and develop a PLC – check out the website link !
Adams, Caralee. (2009). The Power of Collaboration. Instructor, 119 (1), 28-31.
Bouchard, J. (2012). CoPs and CLPs. YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pg3cx7dW1U&feature=youtu.be.
Photo courtesy of Becker College Marketing Department (4/19/2011)