I presented on the subject of Virtual Communities of Practice: Enabling Peer-based Distance Learning at the Canadian Association for Distance Education (CADE) conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Virtual communities of practice are environments in which individuals with similar interests can learn from one another at a distance. Learners in this case are not limited to their local peers but are able to interact and learn from those who have similar experiences elsewhere. This type of virtual community requires design and planning in order to ensure that communication flows between its participants.
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002) define a community of practice as “groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis”.