Communities of practice


"Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly."

- Etienne Wenger-Trayner

What is a community of practice?

  • Communities of practice differ from informal networks in that a specific topic or point of interest compels people to make time for regular interactions with others.
  • Communities of practice provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions that most people find to be not only helpful and instructive, but meaningful. Building relationships and making connections are a valuable result of participating in a community of practice.
  • Communities of practice are organic efforts that should be cultivated rather than forced.
  • Each community of practice has its own particularities and life cycle based on its leadership and the needs and availability of its members.

What do you need to start a community of practice?

  • A committed leader or leadership team to cultivate the group.
  • A common purpose or point of interest.
  • Members who are mutually engaged and want to share knowledge or experience.

Examples of UM communities of practice

Learn more

Do you have an idea for a community of practice? Write to communicate@umontana.edu to connect with other leaders of communities of practice who can give you advice.