Forming communities of practice
AbstractThe National Action Research Network (NARN) on Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning (PDP) and e-Portfolio was funded through the Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship Scheme in 2007. It brought together a partnership of people from 16 English Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) who were already members of national PDP networks Ã¢â¬â most significantly the Centre for Recording Achievement. The broader project aim was to develop research capacity among PDP practitioners and in order to help keep this aim manageable, smaller groups based on regional groupings were set up. Although the membership did come together to share experiences at national events, it was thought that the smaller groups would be more manageable units for the more concentrated work of setting up local research projects. Each group member came with an idea for a research project, many of which are exemplified in this special edition, and over the course of the three years regional groups met to review, feedback and build on the research they had been undertaking. This brief article describes the experiences of the three regional groups and concludes that there are a number of characteristics that contribute to the success of a community of practice, including notions of joint enterprise, shared repertoire and mutual engagement, but success in achieving these relies on shared commitments and the development of trust and respect amongst the group members.
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