Education Community Builders

Adult education

The five CPs of community

LinkedIn Articles (2).png

Communities are formed and only exist because people like to be connected. A community can be simply defined as a group of people who share something in common, whether that is an identity, values, location, religion, a shared goal, roles or interests. There are various types of communities that exist, online communities can be further broken into different parts based on the purpose they are meant to serve namely being:

  • Communities of Practice
  • Communities of Play
  • Communities of Product
  • Communities of Place
  • Communities of Purpose

The five Cp’s in short.

Communities of practice
Communities of Practice focus on a discipline, skill or craft and are usually professional communities. In many cases, other practitioners in a specific industry, sector or role can connect and help to grow and learn together. Some of these communities can be broad and others very niche.

Within a single industry, there can be smaller, focused and more niche communities of practice.

Professional communities of practice can be started by associations, businesses, media or organisations that also create them to establish thought leadership positions and support their subscription models or business development.

Communities of practice are being created by practitioners who haven't quite been able to find the group or community that they are looking for.

Communities of play
These communities usually form around a common interest or hobby. They can cover topics such as gaming, sports, arts, music, collectables etc.

Typically, these are developed by passionate fans and hobbyists. There has been an increase in more individuals creating larger communities in newer online spaces with the intention to sell them and their audiences to the right owners. Communities of Play can often be found on various platforms. Communities of play can also be created by brands/organisations.

Communities of product
Members of these communities are focused primarily on discussing and learning about a specific product, feature or service.

Communities of products are popular in consumer industries and these vary from beauty to fashion. Here members benefit from being part of a loosely knit community and receive member benefits via exclusive content, offers, events and product updates.

Communities of place
A community of place or a place-based community binds its members together because of where they reside, work, visit or otherwise spend a percentage of their time, have visited regularly, or wish to visit.

These online communities can be small neighbourhoods, towns, or workplaces. They can also be people connected by an event, gathering or any other geographically specific place that several people share.

Communities of purpose
Without a doubt, all communities should have a purpose! Whether that purpose is improving professionalism through a Community of Practice, bringing people together to feel less solitary about a passion for a sports team in a community of play, collecting valuable insights and feedback in a community of product, or maintaining energy and momentum from an event in a community of place.

Communities of purpose ultimately have a big and bold ambition. An end goal and a high purpose. These communities should ideally have a target date or timeframe when the community has achieved its goals and caesars to exist.

Many communities of purpose align people around achieving a single goal, and the timeframe could be 12 weeks, 12 months or a lifetime.

Understanding and defining the reasons why a community is gathering or exists is one of the most, if not the most essential parts of community strategy. Get this wrong, and your community will struggle to take off.

This is why it is crucial to understand and define what type (or types) of community your members want to belong to.

Wish to learn more about community and how to build one? For more on community strategy and community management learning,

Learn more here or contact

Sign in to add your comment.



_A-Better-AfricaIntroductionGroup (5).png

An online community or internet community is a group of people with a shared interest or purpose who use the internet to communicate with each other. Online communities have their own set of guidelines and needs, like online community engagement, moderation, and management.

The importance of community for educators.

_A-Better-AfricaIntroductionGroup (14).png

Understanding Education Ecosystems

The 4 key reasons to build an education community.

2022 - A critical year for online communities.

A collection of 1-minute videos explaining online communities.

Read on the benefits of online communities

UNICEF on online communities. Download here.

Insights into Virtual Communities of Practice

An academic view of Knowledge Communities

7 steps to building an online community


Add a Page