Monday, June 26, 2006

Etienne Wenger on Communities of Practice

Like most of what I've been thinking about and linking to this week, this isn't really new. I just hadn't seen this excellent page containing an interview with and presentation by Etienne Wenger on Communities of Practice last year. It's all Flash videos, nicely chunked and indexed (although it would be great to be able to link to individual pieces). It covers all kinds of meaty concepts, including the shift to learning as "negotiation of mutual relevance" between people. Powerful stuff, methinks:
"You see the difference between 'learning as curriculum' and 'learning as a journey of the self'. One of the most important aspects of the course is, people discover a new identity, they get connected. The meaning of the technology is mostly, I'm connected to the world in a new way. So I ask, to what extent can learning with technology create new possibilities for learning, a journey of the self, a social journey, of moving through the world..."
Digging around a bit, I found Stephen Downes' summary notes from a similar presentation (the quote above is from the notes), some slides and an older paper of Wenger's (1998) that still rings true: Communities of Practice: Learning as a Social System. Wenger's homepage appears to be down, but may be up later.

Next-day update: His site is back up, and through it I found another great interview that's bending my brain right now.

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