Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Cooperative Learning Environments: Virtual Communities of Practice in the Healthcare Sector

Francesc Saigí-Rubio, Inés González-González


This paper aims to examine the benefits the use of virtual communities of practice (VCOP) provides to professionals in the healthcare field. Conceptually communities of practice (CoP) are supported by the Theory of Situated Learning, which highlights the importance of the professional environment and interaction with colleagues in the development of a practical learning.

In some professional areas, this way of creating and sharing knowledge has become a common practice. The intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) makes possible the origin of VCOP. With them, the process of collaborative knowledge construction is faster, more efficient and participatory. Also, the set of benefits from the use of VCoP is wide and diversified, reaching all the members of the community, both on a personal and general level -, as well as the organizations - where the members of the community develop their professional activities-. Both at management and performance levels.

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