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Knowledge Management Practices in Universities: The Role of Communities of Practice

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Knowledge Management Practices in Universities: The Role of Communities of Practice

Jan 11, 2022   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Maliha Safiullah

In a rapidly evolving world, we must align with modern digital approaches like VR (Virtual Reality), Big Data, and AI to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. The education sector embraces knowledge management by CoPs (Communities of practice)
to keep abreast with these technological advancements.

Knowledge management is a term that refers to the application of the latest technologies to drive results for organizations like universities. Hence, Communities of Practice proffers an adaptive and evolving avenue for diligent teachers and students to gather together and explore innovative and creative ways to improve the teaching and learning experience.

Systems and Technologies of CoPs

Various technologies and systems are available that assist in Communities of Practice. Non-technological tools are mostly hardware-based, while advanced technologies utilize software systems. Both systems support knowledge collection, processing, and storage. And unite all information into a single piece to share on digital tools that provide and maintain the requirements for networking, communication, collaboration, and socialization.

Various real-time synchronous and interactive tools like web conferencing, audio meetings, instant messaging, chat, instant messaging, and white-boarding provide innovative platforms for communication. Other than synchronous tools, many asynchronous tools like discussion boards, website links, polls, surveys, and group announcements are also available. Both mechanisms gather data and assist in the practice of CoPs in universities.

Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice in Universities

Communities of Practice is a functional knowledge management (KM) practice that aids sharing of valuable knowledge in universities and other educational institutions. Most information in the education sphere is tacit and is tough to enunciate. CoPs act as a carrier for knowledge creation and sharing. The objective of CoP is to develop, extend, and swap useful information among concerned authorities and administration to devise an effective mechanism for educators. 

Due to the compelling and productive outcomes of Communities of Practice in universities, it has become a strategic and expanding tool for crafting the most effective teaching methodologies and learning knowledge. Hence, many academic institutions adopt Communities of Practice to design productive strategies and cope with the technological and diverse changes.

Best Approaches that Capitalize on Communities of Practice

Several tools and technologies are available to expand the scope of CoPs, such as digital platforms and marketplaces that proffer valuable data of both educational institutions and students. Other than digital portals, here are a few best approaches with proven outcomes.

  • Analyze information from messaging (email, SMS).
  • Gather knowledge from E-learning systems and Teleconferencing facilities.
  • Create data charts from social media accounts.
  • Automation.
  • Survey and Polls.

Employ these approaches to capitalize on KM and Communities of Practice in universities.

Effect of Knowledge Management and CoPs Implementation in Universities

In academic institutions use of Communities of Practice and KM proposes new prospects for teaching methods and learning processes. CoPs furnish powerful and practical models for change and growth in the education sector. KM with a Community of Practice helps in forming a constructive community. It also provides a sense of acceptance, improves cross-discipline, and promotes creativity and innovation. The role of Community of Practice creates a sense of unity among diverse staff and students. Hence, it helps in creating versatile teaching methods and unified classrooms. 

Foundation of CoPs in Universities

Communities of Practice have a foundation of three main components; knowledge, institutions, and practices. The educational sphere consists of schools, colleges, or universities. The psyche comprises inferential and direct information. And CoPs based upon communities, domain, and practice. Altogether these components are interlinked with technology and people, assisting higher education institutions in developing adaptive approaches in diverse classrooms.

The core goal of every education institution around the globe is to utilize KM in designing scalable strategies for improved teaching, administration, well-planned research, and conceptual learning. Therefore, CoPs and KM with modern technologies provide a meaningful platform for every academic institution that supports organizations to adapt and incorporate these frameworks.

The Bottom Line

Educational institutions thrive on KM and Communities of Practice. Personal experiences provide tacit knowledge that represents the staff's values and beliefs. Processing tacit knowledge will give explicit information that facilitates better Communities of Practice through dialogues and social interactions.

It is pertinent to understand that people and technology are the functional aspects of KM and Communities of Practice in universities or any educational setting. Community of Practice and knowledge have undoubtedly specified roles that depict the institutional collaborations such as the teachers, group facilitators/leaders, administrations, and learners. This foundation ensures the knowledge-centered working of the institutions. It is noteworthy that a proper linking of knowledge and CoPs always furnishes profitable results. Therefore, to ensure maximum leverage from these two key players, KM and CoPs employ advanced technologies like Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to gather and process relevant information and craft strategies accordingly. 


Author Bio: 

Maliha Safiullah is a Former Correspondent for 60 Minutes, Channel Nine Australia and is a published writer having worked as a Feature Writer for Dawn News, Pakistan.   

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