Journal club

Journal Club Article: Yarris, L.M., Chan, T.M., Gottlieb, M., and A.M. Juve (2019). Finding Your People in the Digital Age: Virtual Communities of Practice to Promote Education Scholarship. Journal of Graduate Medical Education. Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 1-5.

Background: Busy educators experience many barriers in meeting their own professional and education goals. Engaging in a virtual community of practice (vCoP) may help educators overcome barriers to successfully generate scholarship.

The structure of a CoP can be defined by the presence of 3 characteristics:

  1. “A mutual agreement where members establish group norms and build relationships with each other.
  2. A joint enterprise where the group determines its focus or “domain”.
  3. A shared repertoire of resources.”

A vCoP is a CoP that utilizes web-based technology to facilitate communication and engagement. More info on vCoP

Sources of healthcare vCoP’s include existing open (such as Twitter), blog-based (such as ALiEM), or closed communities of practice (using platforms like Slack such as ALiEM Incubator and ANZCEN Incubator).

“Educators wanting to develop their own vCoP can also take a stepwise approach that builds on literature-based recommendations. It is important that members at all levels of engagement, from peripheral to leadership, experience benefits from participation and feel included and intrinsically motivated to contribute. In addition, succession plans should be built into the model to prevent core member burnout and maintain fresh perspectives, ideas, and enthusiasm.”

As vCoP’s develop there will be increased opportunity to engage and increase capacity in scholarly work and ultimately advance the science of education.  Utilising an apprentice model may aid facilitation of scholarly development and outputs.


Nursing Education Network. 2020. Virtual Communities of Practice.

Von Wartburg I, Rost K, Teichert T. 2006. The creation of social and intellectual capital in virtual communities of practice: shaping social structure in virtual communities of practice. Int J Learning Change. 1(3):299–316.

Wenger E. Communities of practice: learning as a social system. Syst Thinker. 1998;9(5):2–3.