Online Communities of Practice (CoPs) for Global Health

An adolescent female uses a computer in Sierra Leone. Src - © 2008 Veronica Thomas, Courtesy of Photoshare

Online communities of practice (CoPs) have become increasingly popular within the global health and development sectors as vehicles for capturing knowledge to ensure public health preparedness, managing information more effectively, enabling global health professionals to work collaboratively in a virtual environment, and improving effectiveness in the face of dwindling resources. Online CoPs provide a virtual space for people who share a common interest and are working towards a shared goal. This course aims to give the learner an overview of online CoPs, including the uses, benefits, and challenges of building, nurturing, and monitoring CoPs.

This course is intended for program managers who work in global health and development and would like to learn more about online CoPs and the potential for CoPs to help their teams, projects, and organizations achieve a shared goal.


After completing this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Define an online community of practice (CoP)
  • Understand the usefulness of online CoPs for improving global health and development 
  • List the benefits of creating an online CoP and challenges for maintaining one
  • Describe key steps in creating an online CoP 
  • Provide strategies for nurturing and monitoring online CoPs


The authors are very grateful to the reviewers who provided their insights and suggestions:

  • Peggy D'Adamo, USAID
  • Sarah Harlan, JHU∙CCP/K4Health
  • Sara Mazursky, JHU∙CCP/K4Health
  • Jim Shelton, USAID



  • 2 hours


  • Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Course Authors: 

  • Jarret Cassiniti, CCP

  • Soma Ghoshal, NetHope/HC3

Course Managers: 

  • Lisa Mwaikambo, CCP