Communities of Practice: Transformative Learning with CAE Healthcare

| Roxanne Blanford

… Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact  …”

Etienne Wenger is a globally recognized thought leader in the field of social learning. Within the pages of his 1998 treatise, “Communities of Practice, Learning, Meaning and Identity” (Cambridge University Press, 1998) he proposed a learning theory centered on the proposition that when people come together to share, network, debate, collaborate and communicate they can achieve successful growth, both personally and professionally.

Wenger coined the phrase “communities of practice” to describe this facilitative, and crucial, aspect of learning.

When CAE Healthcare asked Amanda Wilford, Group Leader for CAE Healthcare Academy- International, to offer professional and experiential insights into the value of simulation-based education (including webinar and virtual training modalities), she immediately referenced Wenger’s learning theory.

“Social interaction is key to learning. It employs many frameworks and models that are applicable across all fields, including healthcare simulation. This variety is clearly represented today by the growth of online forums, long-form blogging sites, and social media microblogs (Twitter, Reddit, Weibo, et al.).”

“…in spite of curriculum, discipline, and exhortation, the learning that is most personally transformative turns out to be the learning that involves membership in these communities of practice … Across a world wide web … people congregate in virtual spaces and develop shared ways of pursuing their common interests… the Internet [...] expands the possibilities for community and calls for new kinds of communities based on shared practice ...”

Dr. Etienne Wenger

CAE Healthcare Academy: A Pivotal Part of Communities of Practice

“Thinking about 'communities of practice' made me realize how the CAE Academy is one such community," added Ms. Wilford. “The Academy is an expert training community made up of permanent and visiting global faculty, coming from all areas of healthcare, education, and technology. One of the Academy’s primary goals is to reach out to the simulation community, as a whole, and assist with implementing simulation pedagogy as routine, much like a PowerPoint presentation is today.”

The CAE Academy connects with the simulation community to facilitate learning in several meaningful ways -- in person, and across virtual modes of learning.

The Academy

  • communicates, shares and collaborates by attending and speaking at conferences (e.g. SSIH. ASPiH, HPSNs).

  • facilitates face-to-face sessions and conducts synchronous online webinars, focusing on simulation best practices and the integration of healthcare technology 

  • hosts healthcare education activities all over the world (Simulator Essentials, Programming with Physiology, and Train the Trainer courses, for example)

  • creates and posts simulation training videos (housed on Vimeo and YouTube)

  • conducts live patient simulation training sessions and virtual product demos 


Ways to Benefit from Communities of Practice with CAE Healthcare

For anyone seeking to get the most out communities of practice for healthcare training, Amanda Wilford suggests the following choice options:

1. Sign up for a CAE Healthcare webinar 

These synchronous, 90-minute distance educational sessions are free to attend and hosted by CAE Academy experts. Learn how to transform your simulation programs; create authentic patient simulation scenarios and/or plan, design and manage a sustainable and successful training center (using CAE Learning Space for debriefing, formative and summative assessment, and research). These online training courses and webinars bring the learning directly to you via computer or laptop enabling you to save on travel costs, too!

2. Register for an onsite educational session

CAE Healthcare's "Training for Life” and "Essentials of Simulation" sessions  (available in Florida, Germany, Thailand and elsewhere), are interactive gatherings where you can learn more about both the technology and educational techniques that are shaping the future of simulation. Attendees can acquire CEUs, gain insights and build skills to advance simulation programs and, ultimately, improve patient care.

3. Follow CAE Healthcare on social media

Engage as a customer. Engage as a brand loyalist. Engage as a member of the global healthcare community who is concerned with matters relating to patient safety, improving the quality of care, and developing better trained healthcare professionals through innovations in healthcare simulation.

CAE Healthcare uses its social media communication channels to broaden the conversation surrounding the challenges faced, everyday, by healthcare professionals and lends an expert voice to the discussion. We share relevant industry insights, event updates, CAE Healthcare product news (and the many ways your simulation center can save on valuable resources), and we inform our followers about simulation training happenings all over the world with exciting photos and compelling content.  

You can follow CAE Healthcare on the following digital social networks:

"We are one community of practice. Are you getting the most out of it?"

Amanda Wilford
CAE Healthcare Academy 
Part of this enriching community of practice!


Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice. Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Introduction to communities of practice, A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, 2015 (accessed August 6, 2018)

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