Lave and Wenger observed situated learning within a community of practice among Yucatán midwives, Liberian tailors, navy quartermasters and meat cutters (Lave & Wenger 1991) as well as insurance claims processors. Other fields have made use of the concept of Co Ps.
Examples include education (Grossman 2001), sociolinguistics, material anthropology, medical education, second language acquisition (Kimble, Hildreth & Bourdon 2008), Parliamentary Budget Offices (Chohan 2013), health care and business sectors, and child mental health practice (AMBIT).
The Eureka database has been estimated to have saved the corporation $100 million.
Collaboration constellations differ in various ways. Some are under organizational control (e.g., teams, see below) others, like Co Ps, are self-organized or under the control of individuals.
For examples of how these and other collaboration types vary in terms of their temporal or boundary focus and the basis of their members' relationships, see Kietzmann et al. A project team differs from a community of practice in several significant ways (Mc Dermott 1999).
In addition to the distinction between Co P and other types of organizational groupings found in the workplace, in some cases it is useful to differentiate Co P from community of interest (Co I).
They form a "virtual community of practice" (VCo P) (Dubé, Bourhis & Jacob 2005) when they collaborate online, such as within discussion boards and newsgroups, or a "mobile community of practice" (MCo P) (Kietzmann et al.
2013) when members communicate with one another via mobile phones and participate in community work on the go.
Lave and Wenger first used the term communities of practice to describe learning through practice and participation, which they named situated learning.
The structure of the community was created over time through a process of legitimate peripheral participation.