02-045: Collaboration Tool: The Community of Practice Learning System (COPLS)

The Community of Practice Learning System (COPLS) is a technology-enhanced process that provides a framework in which a community of practice, organized around shared problems and activities, becomes the focal point of learning.

Contrary to conventional learning systems where instructional environments are made up of teachers, students, grades, tests, and classrooms COPLS embraces a new learning environment.
The community of practice embodies learners, instructional resources, representative problems, expert mentors, instructional designer, and learning products. Based upon shared cognition and tool manipulation participants actually "test" their knowledge on problem solving with no predetermined path or single defined solution. By providing an interactive, socially distributed learning environment inert knowledge is transformed into useful "know-how" reinforcing the value of what is learned. Key to this process is the use of expert mentors and the inter-dependency of all participants in meeting shared goals.

- Contextual learning
- Bridges knowledge, action, learning, and practice
- Maximizes resources and expertise of instructors and practitioners
- Serves physical and virtual environments

Market Significance:
Developments in hypermedia, interactive multimedia, and related technologies are changing the way and the speed in which we assess, analyze, and synthesize new knowledge. Traditional learning environments are experiencing "information overload" and cannot keep pace with the steep learning curves new technology imparts on society. Learning has become a lifelong process where teachers must become facilitators, researchers, and presenters; and students must evolve from reading and absorbing materials to mastering concepts through experiential instruction and shared cognition.
The Community of Practice Learning System is a process that enables rapid assimilation and application of new concepts while fostering the creative nature of participants.
Practical applications of this process are far reaching and could include:
- Software Development
- General Education
- Distance Learning
- Employee Training
- Professional Development
- Research & Development
- Decision Making and Problem Solving