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Nichani, M. R., & Hung, D. W. L. (2002). Can a community of practice exist online? Educational Technology, 42(4), 49-54.
The notion of community is at the heart of many epistemological theories of learning, both in organizations and in academia. CoPs or Communities of Practice facilitate not only the processes of learning about knowledge within a particular practice, but
through enculturation practitioners learn to be identified with that profession. With the rise of the Internet, and its ability to reach out and connect people, it is unsurprisingly the focus of many
community initiatives. The success of some commercial online communities is compelling other organizations and academics to follow suit. The aim of this article is to act like a speed breaker for those rushing to create
online learning/knowledge communities, urging them to stop and heed the numerous, and often neglected, social aspects associated with such developments. By
drawing on research done by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid, Larry Prusak, Peter Cohen, and Malcolm Gladwell, and by companies like British Petroleum, we
hope to implant the notion that "virtuality" is only effective when it is used as an add-on to already existing socia l structures and not as a stand-alone initiative. Similarly, learning is facilitated th rough
complementing and extending existing social networks with technologies that can enhance the learning processes.
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