Learn About Action Teams & Electronic Communities of Practice

Learn About Action Teams & Electronic Communities of Practice

1. Closed Teams

To learn about starting a closed eCoP for an existing or new research team, visit this page:


2. Open Teams

To learn about starting an open Action Team, read on.

Would you like to improve health services?

• Do you want to connect with others to share ideas, learn and lead?
• Would an e-Community of Practice (eCoP) platform support your group’s collaborative research, evaluation or knowledge exchange project?

If so, you may wish to set up or join an InspireNet Action Team.

►Current InspireNet Action Teams are listed here.

What is an InspireNet Action Team?

A group of practitioners and researchers who share a passionate interest in a specific domain of nursing health services research in one of the following BCNRI research priority areas, or other related health services research areas. The team interacts regularly (in person, phone or internet) to learn, work and take action.

BCNRI Research Priority Areas:

  1. Care delivery
  2. Nursing health human resources
  3. Practice relevant education
  4. Impact of policy decisions on the quality and safety of the practice (work) environment
  5. Proactive Approaches to Enhancing Quality and Safety of the Practice Environment

More information about these research priority areas is available at MSFHR’s website.

Who leads InspireNet Action Teams?

• Organizations such as a health authority or educational institution can self-identify or be invited to step forward to take the lead or co-lead an Action Team.
• Team leaders must be supported by their organizations to take on the role for a one year term.

Who participates in InspireNet Action Teams?

Core members:

  • During the start-up phase, each Action Team should recruit a core group of a minimum of 6 people who are willing and able to be active participants.
  • The core group should include members from both health services and academic settings. In smaller centres, this may be difficult to accomplish, so the core group should make plans for expansion after they've become established.
  • Core members take on various roles to coordinate, facilitate and animate the group’s work, supported by an eCoP, for an agreed upon period of time; members can rotate through roles, or new members can be recruited as appropriate.

Building a community:

  • Once established, the core team can use the eCoP to reach a broader group of people who would like to learn more in the domain area, but may not be able to take on an active role on the Action Team.
  • Over a period time, some of the more peripheral participants may shift to a more active role on the Action Team and eCoP.

How do we know if an eCoP would work for our InspireNet Action Team?

An Action Team is much like a community of practice. An electronic community of practice (eCoP) uses information and communication technologies to support their collaborative learning, working and knowledge building. A useful first step is to understand your group and its characteristics. Consult with each other to gain insights about what your group aspires to do together, and what technology your members do/do not use or want.

For your reference, Etienne Wenger and colleagues have developed an excellent eCoP Start-up Guide available at http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

How can we determine if an eCoP will work for our group?

Following are some questions for your group to consider (adapted from Wenger, White and Smith: Digital Habitats: Stewarding Technology for Communities, 2009).

How diverse is your Action Team? What are the types of members and their levels of participation? How spread apart in terms of location and time zone?

How connected to the broader health and education sectors is your Action Team? How does your Action Team need to interact with other communities? Do you need common tools for sharing and learning? Does your Action Team want to have open boundaries? both private and public spaces?

How interested is your Action Team in learning how to develop and use an eCoP to support its work? What are your members' technology constraints? How much time are members able to be online, when, and from where (office, home, field)?

Which of the following activities could your Action Team use an eCoP to support?
• meetings
• discussions
• projects
• posting resources
• questions and requests
• access to experts
• shared problem solving
• mentoring
• outreach to broader group of practitioners, etc

How does InspireNet help Action Teams set up an eCoP?

InspireNet provides the platform, tools and support for Action Teams to create and facilitate
eCoPs that are aligned with the network’s goals and logic model.

Technology infrastructure

ECoPs are provided free use of WebEx, a real-time, web-conferencing application that allows users to share and collaborate on documents, to record sessions, and to broadcast video images via webcams. The audio component of a WebEx session is carried out through either your webcam and speakers/headset (free!), or the use of a toll number on your telephone. Or you can use Skype or Google Voice (free!), if you prefer.

►Online Groups

ECoPs are provided as free online groups through our website. Groups are password protected and include for each team:

  • discussion forum (to share discussions across team members)
  • blog (to publish and receive comments)
  • event calendar (to track events of interest to the team)
  • shared document library (to share documents across the team)
  • wiki (to collaborate on document writing)
  • team email list (to communicate with team members without tracking email addresses)

What's the difference between a blog and a wiki? Check out these easy-to-understand YouTube videos (about 6 minutes in total):


Training will be provided in use of technology infrastructure and e-CoP best practices.

How do I apply to form an InspireNet Action Team?

Send us an email answering the following questions:

1. What is the proposed domain or focus area for your InspireNet Action Team?
2. Who are potential members already identified to serve as the core group?
3. How will additional members from across the province be recruited to participate?
4. Who will act as Action Team leader, or co-leaders? Please include the leader/co-leader’s short bio or CV (as an email attachment or hyperlink to a webpage). Do leaders have organizational support for their participation in this capacity?
5. How does this proposed e-CoP connect to InspireNet’s goals, logic model, and the BCNRI priority areas described above?
6. How does your Action Team proposal link with other existing projects across the province and their research interests?

Note: InspireNet Action Teams may be asked to present at InspireNet annual conferences.

The InspireNet Management Team will respond to your request within 10 working days.

Still have questions?

Contact us using this link

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