Learning communities and physical education professional development: a scoping review

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Parker, Melissa ORCID: 0000-0002-0257-5516, Patton, Kevin, Gonçalves, Luiza ORCID: 0000-0003-4140-2463, Luguetti, Carla ORCID: 0000-0002-9442-1636 and Lee, Okseon (2021) Learning communities and physical education professional development: a scoping review. European Physical Education Review, 28 (2). pp. 500-518. ISSN 1356-336X


Learning communities (LCs) in a variety of formats are touted as an effective strategy for continuing professional development (CPD) in physical education. This study’s purpose was to provide an overview of the research on LCs in physical education for professional development between 1990 and 2020. A scoping review undergirded the research process and search parameters included full-text empirical studies in 12 languages. Ultimately 95 studies were found. A descriptive analysis revealed teachers as the focus in 75% of the studies; fewer studies focused on initial teacher education students, teacher educators, and facilitators. The largely qualitative studies reflected an international database (18 countries; four multinational studies) with South Korea, the US, and England dominating the literature. Four features spotlight thematic findings: (a) facilitation, (b) the process of community development, (c) the focus of the group and (d) the product(s) of the group. Learning communities as a CPD approach in physical education appear to be effective in a variety of ways. Little evidence, however, exists regarding their sustained nature over time, or how teacher engagement in LCs may result in substantive student learning. Contributing to the scattered nature of literature to date was the interchangeable use of communities of practice (CoP) and other forms of LCs. Often communities were not theoretically aligned, the development process of communities not explained, nor evidence provided as to how the community studied contained the qualifying features of a CoP or LCs. Future research, therefore, should detail the nature of community and fidelity to the theoretical framework.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/44913
DOI 10.1177/1356336X211055584
Official URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1356336X2...
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords professional learning communities, communities of practice, teacher communities, continuing professional development
Citations in Scopus 11 - View on Scopus
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