This is a re-blog from Seth Godin’s blog (a post I really enjoyed)–
Learning happens mostly outside the classroom.
Learning is the difficult work of experiencing incompetence on our way to mastery.
And learning opens the door to identity.
When someone says, “I am a nurse”, they’ve taken their learning and certification, combined it with their livelihood and announced it as their identity.
And this all happens from community. The standards and practices, the support, the status roles. People like us do things like this.
If you’re a Maine wooden-boat builder, you do things a certain way. The ocean is the same water that a boat builder in Manila would put their boat on, but the boat is different because the community is different.
Even the way we think about formal education, accreditation and contribution is driven by the community of practice we are part of.
Communities have often been an accident of birth. Built by geography and parentage, you established your identity and your learning long before you went to school. Now, of course, this is changing.
Communities of practice have been written about for decades, but they’re being transformed and amplified by the persistent and permeable nature of the net. When we surround ourselves with a community, it’s inevitable that it changes our identity.
Too often, we choose our community by default. The social network sucks us in, or we’re picked for a certain dodgeball team or cadre at school. We have the chance, though, to do it with intention instead.
We need to build communities of practice. A powerful, productive identity that people can choose to seek out.