Knowledge Sharing for Community Development: Educational Benefits at the Community Level through Networks of Knowledge Flow and Communities of Practice
Lample, Emily Jazab
The flow of ideas that emerges from educational programs, particularly those that explicitly encourage interactions with community members, holds under-appreciated potential for knowledge flow to contribute to development at a community level. This study examines a single case, the PSA program in Colombia, to explore the patterns and potential of educational knowledge-sharing for community development. Using the lenses of network theory and communities of practice, it draws from social network data, interviews, and participant observation to capture the knowledge-sharing practices of students and their contributions to community development. Findings suggest that through formally-assigned activities and those that emerge from student initiative, students enrich their existing networks of community with additional information, recommendations for practice, and discussions of fundamental values and concepts. At the same time, they extend those networks to include new individuals and promote sharing that shapes practice within communities of practice.