Recreation Manitoba is actively creating Communities of Practice to assist individuals working and volunteering in the recreation and parks sector in learning and connecting. The following was adapted from communityofpractice.ca
What is a community of practice?
- A community of practice is a group of people who share a common concern, a set of problems, or an interest in a topic and who come together to fulfill both individual and group goals.
- Focus on connecting people, sharing best practices and growing knowledge to advance a domain of professional practice. In recreation and parks a domain might be urban trails, arena’s, aquatics or summer programming.
- It's meetings, newsletters, forums, shared folders and other ways to communicate, learn and connect.
What are the characteristics of a community of practice?
- Shared domain of interest: Creates common ground and base from which to plan, communicate etc.,
- Community: Members pursue this interest through joint activities, discussions, problem-solving opportunities, information sharing and relationship building.
- Practice: Community members are actual practitioners in this domain of interest, and build a shared repertoire of resources and ideas that they take back to their practice.
How does it work?
- Lead by a facilitator(s) who coordinates meetings, technology needs etc
- Meant to be participatory meaning all members contribute through providing information, resources, feedback and when needed coordination of activities.
- Meetings consist of learning through speakers sharing of resources, share best practices and success stories. Identifying issues or gaps that need to be filled. Working together to fill those gaps.
- Work is assigned based on availability, resources and best suited.
- Lifespan is determined by the members based on interest and need.
- Frequency of the meetings is determined by the members based on interest and need. Ideally once per year the group would determine a meeting schedule, agenda items, learning opportunities, knowledge gaps and collective activities.
In Recreation Manitoba's case we host online Zoom calls open to anyone in the sector. Generally we invite one or two speakers to do short presentations on topics of interest to sector and then give those on the call an opportunity to meet and share information, ask questions and problem solve. The meeting agenda's are driven by the people in the sector and the information and knowledge they are looking to gain.