In today’s TTA environment, activities occur both in person and virtually. When launching a COP, it’s highly recommended that the activities take place in person. Typically, in-person launches take place at training events. They could be held on one evening of a training series, at a conference, or at an orientation. But keep in mind that launches can work virtually as well.
When forming a COP among your TTA participants, first consider whether you will pre-assign groups or allow for self-selection. Pre-assigning works well when the COP is highly integrated into other elements of your TTA program. This may be the case in the following situations:
- Your training series includes “homework” that lends itself to a consistent group doing work together
- You are intentionally building collaborations across organizations in a specific geographic area
- You are intentionally building collaborations across specifically targeted organizations
- Your entire group will be one community of practice (rather than multiple COPs)
If pre-assigning, remember that you will need to do more work to create buy-in about who is in the group and why the group has been formed.
Self-assigning is a great way to get participants to buy into the COP from the very beginning. Time can be dedicated at a training event or conference for participants to form their own groups based on criteria that they have some part in creating.