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Project ECHO is a model of professional development that develops knowledge and capacity among educators and other professionals through the development of professional networks. ECHO networks are made up of regularly scheduled sessions. These sessions occur over regularly over the course of several weeks/months and rely on case-based learning, to create a community of practice (CoP). CoP is defined as a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002).
Communities of practice can successfully be built virtually (McLoughlin, Patel, O’Callaghan, & Reeves, 2018; Struminger et. al, 2017) and capitalize on social learning among members to assist in the development of the skills of the members through activities like information sharing, collective problem solving, and collective knowledge generation (Wenger, Trayner, & De Laat, 2011).
While ECHO was designed to create a CoP, no research has studied whether ECHO networks create a community of practice. Moreover, there are no objective instruments available to measure the development of CoP. The current project will test a newly developed measure of CoP among several ECHO networks as part of the University of Wyoming ECHO.