A primer on emergence and design in learning communities: A conceptual orientation whose time has come

Filitsa Dingyloudi, Jan-Willem Strijbos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this conceptual paper, the notions of Communities of Practice, as representative (self-) emergent learning communities, and Communities of Learners, as representative (instructionally) designed learning communities, are examined in accordance with their original theoretical conceptions and specifications. By unravelling the conceptualizations of Communities of Practice and Communities of Learners through the lens of emergence and design in social learning structures, this paper aims to serve as a springboard for practitioners and researchers to systematically consider the aspects of emergence and design when “orchestrating” and/or supporting learning communities in or beyond educational settings. Instead of an a priori designation of a learning community notion to an existing community or a community to be, researchers and practitioners should consider the aspects of emergence and design by reflecting on at least the following questions: Is the learning community of interest emergent and self-organized or is it to be intentionally and prescriptively formed? And, what does this imply for research and practice?

Original languageEnglish
Article number100251
Number of pages8
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
Early online date5-Sep-2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2020

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