Originally posted 15-Feb-24

Stan Garfield


Beverly Wenger-Trayner is a social learning consultant who works with organizations to develop strategies and practices for cultivating communities, networks, and other forms of social learning. Her expertise encompasses both the design of learning architectures and the facilitation of processes, activities, and use of new technologies.

Bev’s specialties include dealing with complex issues (part of the social discipline of learning); designing and facilitating events that integrate online and offline; integrating social media in the learning strategies of communities of practice; working and designing for distributed teams; and designing for conversations and dialogue that cross time, space, and cultures.

She has substantial experience in coaching conveners and in supporting multilingual groups across cultures, time zones, and geographic locations. She has published chapters and articles about learning in internationally distributed communities and co-authored multiple books. Bev feels most at home working with people in international settings and complex landscapes, especially when it includes the integration of new technologies and social media in innovative ways.

Bev supports government agencies or organizations who are setting up learning environments or communities of practice in distributed communities. This support can come on three levels: developing strategic learning strategies, training, and coaching of community leaders, and facilitation of events. Monitoring the value of the communities is often a part of her work.

People have called her a learning architect, a social artist and a technology steward. Bev often facilitates community meetings for people who want quality conversations and dialogue. She has been the creative designer of a platform that combines social networking, workspaces and a library.

She sees herself as an action researcher with aspirations for doing more auto-ethnographic writing. In the 70s, Bev was a political and social activist, passionate about connecting people globally and raising awareness of global issues of justice in local contexts. She has lived in four countries: Kenya, UK, Portugal, and the USA. As a result, Bev developed a hybrid socio-techno-political worldview that spans continents. She identifies with people whose life has been one of crossing boundaries, from the very tiny to the very big.


  • University of Bath
  • Universidade de Aveiro
  • University of Brighton
  • University of London



Communities of Practice Within and Across Organizations: A Guidebook with Etienne Wenger-Trayner, Phil Reid, and Claude Bruderlein — This new guidebook captures the practical experience of the authors with communities of practice. It includes chapters on setting the organizational context, cultivating communities of practice, facilitating meetings and social learning activities, using technology, and articulating the value created.

Systems Convening: A crucial form of leadership for the 21st century with Etienne Wenger-Trayner — This short book showcases systems convening work in different contexts around the world. It describes the role and practice of people who enable learning across boundaries and connect people across silos. Their work often goes unnoticed, but they have a vital role to play in addressing 21st-century challenges.

Learning to Make a Difference: Value Creation in Social Learning Spaces with Etienne Wenger-Trayner — This book offers a framework for learning to have an impact: engaging with others, monitoring the value this creates, and making adjustments on-the-go. It is written for researchers, educators, and leaders in business, government, healthcare, and international development with or without prior knowledge of learning theory.

Designing for change: Using social learning to understand organizational transformation with Etienne Wenger-Trayner — This book was commissioned by the University Innovation Fellows Program to tell their story using our value-creation framework. The Fellows are university students from campuses around the world. The program coaches them to use their entrepreneurial spirit and skills to drive changes on their campus that are designed to promote innovation and entrepreneurialism. The stories of these students captured in this book are amazing.

Learning in Landscapes of Practice: Boundaries, identity, and knowledgeability in practice-based learning edited with Etienne Wenger-Trayner, Mark Fenton-O’Creevy, Steven Hutchinson, and Chris Kubiak — This book is of particular relevance to people concerned with the design of professional or vocational learning. It will also be a valuable resource for students engaged in higher education courses with work-based elements.





Online course design from a communities-of-practice perspective with John D. Smith — In this article, we explore a design for learning that includes connecting people across time and distance so that they develop practices for sharing and creating information and knowledge rather than just acquiring it.

Introduction to communities of practice; a brief overview of the concept and its uses with Etienne Wenger-Trayner — This brief overview introduces the concept of communities of practice: what they are, what they look like and what they do, where the concept came from and where it was applied. The article also addresses a few common myths about communities of practice.

Leadership groups: distributed leadership in social learning with Etienne Wenger-Trayner — A few years ago, we started setting up leadership groups in the communities of practice that we work with. The idea goes like this: everyone at a meeting joins a leadership group — and each group stewards one aspect of the learning process. Distributing leadership this way generates an experience of ownership and agency that accelerates the development of the community. We have also found this practice useful for other types of meetings.

Boundaries and Boundary Objects: An Evaluation Framework for Mixed Methods Research with Etienne Wenger-Trayner, Josh Cameron, Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, and Angie Hart — This paper introduces an earlier version of our value-creation framework as a mixed methods research tool. We explore how the framework can act as a boundary object across “boundaries of practice,” specifically across quantitative and qualitative methods, philosophical paradigms, and participant perspectives. Using the example of the Imagine Program at the University of Brighton. we argue that the framework’s focus on cycles of value creation can provide a shared language for negotiating interpretation and action across those boundaries. This is an important contribution to mixed methods research where researchers still struggle with boundaries arising from commitments to different methods and paradigms, and from attention to social justice.

Communities of practice go to university with Etienne Wenger-Trayner — This foreword to a book on communities of practice in higher education delineates three phases in the evolution of the concept of community of practice — from its origin in studies of apprenticeship, to its adoption as a valuable form of learning partnership across sectors and industries, to its role in defining regimes of competence in landscapes of practice.

Financial governance: accounting for social learning in a regional network — This paper demonstrates the use of the framework in a project supported by the World Bank in Southern and Eastern Africa. The framework was used both for evaluation and for strategic renewal of a regional network of members of parliament and their clerks. The paper also includes some reflections on the development of the framework and its potential applications.

Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework with Etienne Wenger-Trayner and Maarten de Laat

Value-creation matrix



Stan Garfield

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/