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Training Intervention Strategies

Communities of practice

Wherever there is a group of people who are dedicated to implementing a new practice and learning together as they improve their performance, there is the potential for a community of practice. Other commonly used terms include learning collaborative and community of learning.
A community of practice exists when there is a domain or area of knowledge with a certain set of issues; a community of people who care about this area; and a shared practicethis community of people is implementing. A practice is, fundamentally, anything that is being done to produce a result. To maximize learning, organizations help learners harness their creativity and shared experiences by establishing a network that links them together. This could be: 
  • A ListServe,
  • A Web site,
  • A newsletter,
  • A periodic conference call, or
  • Regular meetings for information exchange. 
For example, a behavioral health insurance provider implementing a shared decision-making software program may provide initial training for all sites, and then establish a Web site where interactive exchange occurs on the site to share findings. The provider may also hold periodic conference calls to link sites together for a facilitated discussion of emerging challenges and solutions.

Another example of a community of practice is the Learning Community for Co-Occurring Integration. The purpose of the Learning Community is to provide a mechanism for representatives of States to share information, collaborate, and support each other while fully implementing strategies to integrate services for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders within their States; and to develop and disseminate education and information to ensure effective services and supports for people with co-occurring disorders within the context of health reform and other federal and State priorities. Learning Community has a shared worksite where announcements, calendars, resources, Webinars, and conference calls information is housed. State to State sharing is the foundation of the Learning Community which is a volunteer, peer run organization.

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