oa The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning - Well-designed communities of practice (CoPs) in the ODeL environment : students' perspectives



Forming communities of practice is an important approach for knowledge sharing and well-designed communities of practice may provide mechanisms for innovation in Open, Distance and eLearning environments. However, the specific guidance to establish communities of practice in higher educational institutions does not always exist. The question further remains how willing are the students to share knowledge within communities of practice at institutions of higher education in order to empower learning and knowledge sharing within those institutions. The aim of this article is to explore the attitudes of 502 students at an open distance e-learning higher education institution or university towards communities of practice. The study applied a quantitative approach using a questionnaire and descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse the responses. The students were invited to engage in learning activities within communities of practice. They were free to decline to participate in this research study, and could withdraw their participation from the study at any time. Returning the completed questionnaire to the researchers indicated their willingness to participate. They preferred online forms of communications. The findings can be used to analyse relationships among communities of practice knowledge-sharing enablers and students' willingness to engage in communities of practice processes. This study described several implications essential to successful learning and knowledge sharing through communities of practice.


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