Publication Details

Edgar, D., Watson, R., Towle, S., McLoughlin, J., Paloff, A., Markocic, S., Joyce-McCoach, J., Bliokas, V. & Bothe, J. (2016). Learning to walk the community of practice tightrope. International Practice Development Journal, 6 (2), 1-8.


Background: The Community of Practice Research was established as a new local health district service initiative. The community comprises novice and experienced multidisciplinary health researchers. Aims: This paper reflects our experience of being Community of Practice Research members and aims to explore the practice development principles aligned to the purpose, progress and outcomes of this community. Conclusions: The journey is compared to walking a tightrope from the beginning to the end. Success in moving forward is attributed to positive leadership and group dynamics enabling a supportive environment. This environment allowed for different types of learning: new research skills and new understandings about oneself. Competing demands such as fluctuating membership and leadership, and the selection of a large initial project were identified as barriers to the Community of Practice Research. Implications for practice: - As well as contributing to communities' shared goals members should identify and make explicit their own learning goals to themselves, the community and their managers - Community of practice meetings should include regular facilitated reflection about the learning that is occurring, the challenges and assumptions being made by the group, and the way forward - A community of practice uses social processes to aid learning and collaboration across disciplines and organisations and therefore has potential to promote local culture change



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