Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Communities of Practice

  • Murat Ataizi
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_2075

Communities of practice are groups of people who wish to learn something by collaborating with other members of the group both in real and virtual world. These people share a goal or interest and learn from each other by sharing information and experiences. The term originates from Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (1991) and has since spread into other fields of learning research, including second language learning.

Lave and Wenger ( 1991) characterize learning as a legitimate peripheral participation in communities of practice. They examine learning is distributed among participants of the communities. In their view, learning is an integral part of generative social practice in the lived-in world (p. 35). Learning can be explored as a legitimate peripheral participation. When a person becomes a member of communities of practice, he or she gradually transforms into a practitioner, a newcomer becoming an old-timer and/or a novice becoming a practitioner, a member of community of practice in...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning. Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.Google Scholar
  2. Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Retrieved May 31, 2011, from http://www.ewenger.com/theory/communities_of_practice_intro.htm

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murat Ataizi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationAnadolu University, School of CommunicationEskisehirTurkey