From one-off events to learning systems and communities of practice

Blackmore, Chris (2004). From one-off events to learning systems and communities of practice. In: (Pre)Proceedings of 6th IFSA European Symposium, 4-7 Apr 2004, Vila Real, Portugal.



This paper considers some of the challenges and skills involved in designing and facilitating events such as workshops, meetings and conferences as part of learning systems and Communities of Practice. It focuses mainly on processes of learning that involve interaction rather than on solitary activity, although acknowledges the relationships between individual and group levels. Three exampls from the author's experience are presented, two from the contexts of environmental decision-making and rural change in the UK and one from direct involvement in an event that focused on Communities of Practice (CoPs) at international level. Three inter-related areas of challenge for learning system design emerged from this enquiry and are discussed. These areas are distribution with respect to cognition and communities; the need to take account of different systems of interest, timeframes and purposes; and the need for continuity in dialogue to support the learning of both individuals and groups.

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