Tag Archives: CoP

Nonverbal representation of connectivism, communities of practice (CoP), and Personal learning networks (PLN)

I created this nonverbal representation of connectivism, communities of practice, and personal learning networks on Explain Everything and uploaded it to YouTube.

The visual begins with Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) because that seems to be the basic unit of connectivity. The learner chooses her own network of people with whom to interact to learn about a topic. This type of learning is often informal and functions best when done informally. One benefit to PLNs is that students self-regulate their learning (Dabbagh & Kisantas, 2011). One skill that learners (hopefully) master as they create PLNs is the ability to create, cultivate, and activate connections with appropriate people (Rajagopal, Brinke, Bruggen, & Sloep, 2012). I chose an image showing the interconnectedness of social media because most people now rly on social media, like Facebook groups, Twitter, YouTube, and forums to crowdsource ideas and get just-in-time information to complete projects and assignments.

The next slide shows groups of people working together because the overarching goal of a community of practice is to improve some type of work function (Hoadley, 2012). In a CoP, members often work together to complete some project they have in common. While they work, inexperienced members may learn from more experienced members (as in a quilting bee) or all members may grow in knowledge as they seek to solve a problem (Smith, 2003 ; Wenger & Snyder, 2000). Each member, experienced or inexperienced is an important part of the community.

The fourth slide shows people holding hands around the world. This represents the interconnectedness of the entire world, and the importance of connections over personally stored  knowledge. The connections people make will allow for further learning and growth (Duke, Harper, & Johnston). Stored knowledge is static unless acted upon by new information, which is received through the connections people have.

The final slide is a drawing I created to show how these ideas are related. The person in the center is related to all of the people on the outside through his personal learning network. The people on the outside can be part several different communities of practice with other people in the circle, including the person in the middle. Finally, everyone on the world is now connected through the Internet, so the people in the circle have access to knowledge through their connections with any of the people in the circle. Each person just needs to create, maintain, and activate his own connections.

Note: I mislabeled the puzzle picture in slide 3. I will fix it soon and reupload the video.


Dabbagh, N. & Kisantas, A. (2012). Personal learning environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), 3-8. Retrieved here.

Duke, B., Harper, G., & Johnston, M. (2013). Connectivism as a digital age learning theory. The International HETL Review: Special Issue 2013, 4-13.

Hoadley, C. (2012). 12 What is a community of practice and how can we support it?. Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments, 286. Retrieved here.

Rajagopal, K., Joosten-ten Brinke, D., Van Bruggen, J, & Sloep, P. B. (2011). Understanding personal learning networks: Their structure, content and the networking skills needed to optimally use them. First Monday, 17(1). Retrieved here.

Smith, M. K. (2003) Communities of practice. The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved here.

Wenger, E. C. & Snyder, W. M. (2000). Communities of practice: the organizational frontier. Harvard Business Review, 78(1), 139-146. Retrieved here.