Using student group work in higher education to emulate professional communities of practice

Colm Fearon, Heather McLaughlin, Tan Yoke Eng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the value of social learning from group work that emulates a professional community of practice. Design/methodology/approach: A thought piece that first, examines the role of group-work projects as part of social learning, then outlines key arguments for social learning based upon applying a "communities of practice" approach and finally, discusses the experience of a leading UK university in light of Hoadley and Kilner's "C4P" communities of practice framework. Some reflections are offered to help practitioners and academics who wish to adopt a similar approach.
Findings: Developing a communities of practice approach using group work can promote social learning and workplace transferrable skills. The authors discussed five main elements of the C4P communities of practice framework in light of a group project at a leading UK university: "purpose" - to emulate an IT consultancy environment and create energy and results as part of the final year group-work project; "conversation and connections" - to promote information exchange between group members through meetings, e-mail, or wikis; "content and context" - drawing upon organisational knowledge and directing groups to improve the quality of project deliverables. Some key reflections include: emulating real world practice helps develop transferrable skills; building membership of a community through simulated teamwork roles encourages motivation; and group leadership helps achieve common purpose. Originality/value: The paper offers a unique insight and applies a communities of practice framework for analysing and developing group work as part of social learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-125
Number of pages12
JournalEducation + Training
Volume54
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

group work
social learning
community
education
student
project group
university
information exchange
teamwork
Communities of practice
e-mail
group membership
Values
Social learning
conversation
workplace
Group
leadership
energy
methodology

Keywords

  • C4P
  • Communities of practice
  • Group work
  • Skills
  • Social learning
  • United Kingdom
  • Universities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Using student group work in higher education to emulate professional communities of practice. / Fearon, Colm; McLaughlin, Heather; Eng, Tan Yoke.

In: Education + Training, Vol. 54, No. 2-3, 04.2012, p. 114-125.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{2d7b40f0f0a346178c8e58d738019d62,
title = "Using student group work in higher education to emulate professional communities of practice",
abstract = "Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the value of social learning from group work that emulates a professional community of practice. Design/methodology/approach: A thought piece that first, examines the role of group-work projects as part of social learning, then outlines key arguments for social learning based upon applying a {"}communities of practice{"} approach and finally, discusses the experience of a leading UK university in light of Hoadley and Kilner's {"}C4P{"} communities of practice framework. Some reflections are offered to help practitioners and academics who wish to adopt a similar approach. Findings: Developing a communities of practice approach using group work can promote social learning and workplace transferrable skills. The authors discussed five main elements of the C4P communities of practice framework in light of a group project at a leading UK university: {"}purpose{"} - to emulate an IT consultancy environment and create energy and results as part of the final year group-work project; {"}conversation and connections{"} - to promote information exchange between group members through meetings, e-mail, or wikis; {"}content and context{"} - drawing upon organisational knowledge and directing groups to improve the quality of project deliverables. Some key reflections include: emulating real world practice helps develop transferrable skills; building membership of a community through simulated teamwork roles encourages motivation; and group leadership helps achieve common purpose. Originality/value: The paper offers a unique insight and applies a communities of practice framework for analysing and developing group work as part of social learning.",
keywords = "C4P, Communities of practice, Group work, Skills, Social learning, United Kingdom, Universities",
author = "Colm Fearon and Heather McLaughlin and Eng, {Tan Yoke}",
year = "2012",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1108/00400911211210233",
language = "English",
volume = "54",
pages = "114--125",
journal = "Education and Training",
issn = "0040-0912",
publisher = "Emerald Group Publishing Limited",
number = "2-3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Using student group work in higher education to emulate professional communities of practice

AU - Fearon, Colm

AU - McLaughlin, Heather

AU - Eng, Tan Yoke

PY - 2012/4

Y1 - 2012/4

N2 - Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the value of social learning from group work that emulates a professional community of practice. Design/methodology/approach: A thought piece that first, examines the role of group-work projects as part of social learning, then outlines key arguments for social learning based upon applying a "communities of practice" approach and finally, discusses the experience of a leading UK university in light of Hoadley and Kilner's "C4P" communities of practice framework. Some reflections are offered to help practitioners and academics who wish to adopt a similar approach. Findings: Developing a communities of practice approach using group work can promote social learning and workplace transferrable skills. The authors discussed five main elements of the C4P communities of practice framework in light of a group project at a leading UK university: "purpose" - to emulate an IT consultancy environment and create energy and results as part of the final year group-work project; "conversation and connections" - to promote information exchange between group members through meetings, e-mail, or wikis; "content and context" - drawing upon organisational knowledge and directing groups to improve the quality of project deliverables. Some key reflections include: emulating real world practice helps develop transferrable skills; building membership of a community through simulated teamwork roles encourages motivation; and group leadership helps achieve common purpose. Originality/value: The paper offers a unique insight and applies a communities of practice framework for analysing and developing group work as part of social learning.

AB - Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the value of social learning from group work that emulates a professional community of practice. Design/methodology/approach: A thought piece that first, examines the role of group-work projects as part of social learning, then outlines key arguments for social learning based upon applying a "communities of practice" approach and finally, discusses the experience of a leading UK university in light of Hoadley and Kilner's "C4P" communities of practice framework. Some reflections are offered to help practitioners and academics who wish to adopt a similar approach. Findings: Developing a communities of practice approach using group work can promote social learning and workplace transferrable skills. The authors discussed five main elements of the C4P communities of practice framework in light of a group project at a leading UK university: "purpose" - to emulate an IT consultancy environment and create energy and results as part of the final year group-work project; "conversation and connections" - to promote information exchange between group members through meetings, e-mail, or wikis; "content and context" - drawing upon organisational knowledge and directing groups to improve the quality of project deliverables. Some key reflections include: emulating real world practice helps develop transferrable skills; building membership of a community through simulated teamwork roles encourages motivation; and group leadership helps achieve common purpose. Originality/value: The paper offers a unique insight and applies a communities of practice framework for analysing and developing group work as part of social learning.

KW - C4P

KW - Communities of practice

KW - Group work

KW - Skills

KW - Social learning

KW - United Kingdom

KW - Universities

U2 - 10.1108/00400911211210233

DO - 10.1108/00400911211210233

M3 - Article

VL - 54

SP - 114

EP - 125

JO - Education and Training

JF - Education and Training

SN - 0040-0912

IS - 2-3

ER -