Let’s start with what first comes to your mind when you think of a community manager. You might think that it has nothing to do with the learning process. But let’s see. The role occurs in the marketing world and it implies a specialist in charge of digital strategies who centres his or her professional experience around a brand’s online community. It sounds generic, doesn’t it? But at a deeper look, it is not, it is a complex role which comes with a series of responsibilities.
To start with the beginning, the manager position is replaced with the title of facilitator or leader and it applies to the communities of practice, which need a person to guide the learning process. Why? Because well-led communities of practice are capable of driving change and enhancing the long-term results of the learning process.
Moreover, the leader is in the position to foster an environment that encourages people to develop themselves in a dynamic and engaged community, where innovation is enhanced and best practices are promoted, discussed and adopted.
Somehow, the community manager from the marketing field is similar to that from the eLearning area who take care of the learning process, to a lesser or greater extent. He or she is responsible, along with the members of the community, to create engagement because this is one of the must have’s of a learning process which delivers long-term results and assures knowledge retention.
Moreover, the person who has this role should be aware of what happens around, at a global level, in the business world, so that the practices which are promoted inside the community are up-to-date with the requirements of the professional field. This is what a community of practice should look like: an environment in which professionals share insights and ideas, develop best practices and change their approach so that it aligns with the business world. And a community leader should make sure that all of these happen.
A community of practice needs someone to guide the learning process and the community manager is the right person to do this.