This report is targeted to education leaders and stakeholders who are interested in exploring, starting, or strengthening online communities of practice for educators. It makes the case for broadening educators’ access to and participation in online communities of practice, which show strong potential to support professional learning and collaboration. To make this case, the report articulates the educational potential, offers practical guidance for online community sponsors and potential sponsors, and describes the U.S. Department of Education’s leadership role in supporting online communities.
The report is designed to help education stakeholders and practitioners understand, implement, and participate effectively in online communities in order to:
- Make professional learning a timely, relevant, and ongoing activity that continually improves practice
- Leverage technology to create career-long personal learning networks within and across schools, preservice and in-service educational institutions, and professional organizations
This report is a living document, as are the related briefs. Comments are invited. The documents will be updated periodically as additional research and new understandings about online communities of practice emerge.