Communities of Practice in Higher Education: A Playbook for Centering Equity, Digital Learning, and Continuous Improvement 

Created By: Achieving the Dream (ATD), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and Online Learning Consortium (OLC) in partnership with Every Learner Everywhere

This playbook provides the higher education community with guidance on how to envision, design, facilitate, evaluate, and sustain communities of practice. Communities of practice offer higher education faculty, students, and leaders a range of benefits, such as facilitating resource sharing, individual and collective goal achievement, group problem solving, evaluation of practices, and emergent learning.

The playbook particularly emphasizes three under-explored elements of the communities of practice experience: equity, digital technologies, and continuous improvement. Approaching these elements with intentionality can ensure a reflexive, accessible process that supports all community members. This playbook provides actionable strategies for all who want to learn more about structuring and facilitating communities of practice. It also explicates ways to engage our three-pronged approach through the lifecycle of a community experience.

See also the companion resource: Communities of Practice in the Higher Education Landscape: A Literature Review