By Heather Jungst
Through the course of doing research and planning for our learning community, we came across Etienne and Beverly ‘Bev’ Wenger-Trayner’s website. Bev Wenger-Trayner recently posted a blog about the issues behind collaboration and sharing knowledge, specifically the challenge community organizers are facing regarding how to share knowledge (http://wenger-trayner.com/reflections/say-boo-to-collaboration-and-sharing/).
Communities of practice (CoPs) are centered on sharing and learning about a common knowledge base. This brings up the question, how do we share knowledge? What gets us talking about what we know? Can the way we approach knowledge sharing change or limit our learning? Bev Wenger-Trayner (2016) proposes that communities should ask questions “about what is NOT known” to start the conversation.
As I started thinking about the CoPs I have been a part of, a common theme was that knowledge sharing started with a shared problem. The conversation did not initiate with an answer or a response but inquiry and dialogue about a problem that someone did not know how to solve. In some cases, other community members had experienced the same problem and shared a resolution that worked for them. In other cases, a connection formed out of the shared experience. A deeper discussion, and ultimately learning, happened because of the focus on the problem and the inquiry that emerged.
As we examine the challenges with sharing knowledge, are we looking at it in the wrong way? What level of inquiry are we using when we try to share knowledge?
I invite you to ask these questions and more as we explore CoPs on November 12th!