Online communities of practice?

NOTICE: There is an updated version of all these FAQs on our new website:

Can a community of practice exist only online?

A community of practice is not defined by the medium through which members connect. Mutually relevant challenges of practice are much more important than modes of interaction. The key to a community of practice is the ability of participants to recognize the practitioner in each other and that basis, to act as learning partners. If online interactions alone allow people to do this in meaningful ways (and by now there is enough evidence that it is possible), then the result is an “online” community of practice.  
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For more information, click here:

For a more precise definition, see our theory page on communities of practice:

For a bit more info, see our general (but brief) introduction to communities of practice and their use in various contexts:

For practical advice on using technology to cultivate communities of practice, see our new guidebook:

For workshops on cultivating communities of practice:

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