Marc Coenders, Maarten de Laat and myself are doing an online course 'facilitating communities of practice' and we are asking the participants to reflect upon what they learned. I'm not sure we are asking them the right questions and I'm thinking that I learned a lot, but that it's not always easy to formulate what you learned.
One of the new things I have learned through the various conversations is that you could see communities of practice as a space, rather than as a (variable) group of people. It's an important one to me, and one of the things that make me think deeper about the relationship between the CoP theory and group dynamics. I have the impression there is not much convergence between the two areas of expertise so far. I think the usefulness may be in knowing about group dynamics in relation to the start up phases (after all, you start with a group of people), during events, and for the core group. In the end, it might be a huge difference to see the CoP as a space where people can find each other, it becomes independent of the people who make up the space. Food for thought!
Another one is how learning moulds relationships, where I assumed relationships preceed learning, in fact, there might be a on-going mutually reinforcing process when people are communicating between learning and the relationship (feeling close, trust, friendship) between people.