Cruess, R.L., Cruess, S.R. & Steinert Y.
The presence of a variety of independent learning theories makes it difficult
for medical educators to construct a comprehensive theoretical framework
for medical education, resulting in numerous and often unrelated curricular,
instructional, and assessment practices. Linked with an understanding of identity
formation, the concept of communities of practice could provide such a framework,
emphasizing the social nature of learning. Individuals wish to join the community,
moving from legitimate peripheral to full participation, acquiring the identity of
community members and accepting the community’s norms.
Having communities of practice as the theoretical basis of medical education
does not diminish the value of other learning theories. Communities of practice
can serve as the foundational theory, and other theories can provide a theoretical
basis for the multiple educational activities that take place within the community, thus
helping create an integrated theoretical approach.