1. The concepts of COPs are quite similar to Quality Circles or Quality Improvement Teams as used in industry and services in the 60s – 90s, first in Japan, then in US and European countries in the late 70s to 90s. I attended a group training program in Industrial Standardisation and Quality Control (quite similar to TQM), under a fellowship program representing Hong Kong . My learning with those professors like Ishikawa, Kano, Akao (the father of Quality Function Deployment) is that all quality innovation and improvement practices start with system, strategies, technology and PEOPLE. So, to me COP is an co-evolution of quality circles, Total Quality Management (TQM) and community under that umbrella, and it would still be under an institutional setting in the early stages of development, on problem solving in institutions, and for development of knowledge and skills of the members. I have conducted a literature research on the use of TQM in education (HE in particular), and it seems that there was a huge lagging behind in the research of TQM in education, limiting its application to the development in forms of Quality Assurance, ISO9000 and leadership etc., but not much on community development. A few articles on TQM in education were only available in the early 90s. I think this is where Etienne picked all these up in the 1988- 90s where he developed such concepts and put them into application in Community Practice and its development.
2. The concepts of situation learning could be dated back to contingency management approach (in the 70s in the US) in leading and managing, where situational leadership http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_leadership_theory
was first envisaged and researched in the US and the theory of situational or contingent leadership was developed. Again, such leadership concepts were not transferred to learning until around 80s to 90s, as I was still studying under an institutional setting at the time. So, would situation learning theory be borne out at such a time, where COP and situation learning would coin the learning under context, and thus provide a solid foundation (or the scaffolding) where the pedagogy is based upon.
3. The concepts of Supply Chain Management (SCM) were derived from Just-in-time concepts, distribution and inventory management, logistics strategies etc. I don’t think there are many researches done in the areas of Supply Chain Management in Education, mainly because there are too few experts who have experiences in both SCM and education. Most SCM experts are interested in the development of models – like the SCOR model http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply-Chain_Operations_Reference, but not in an educational context. This would surely create a huge lag in its use in education and learning. I think this is an area of research that I would like to pursue, since as an engineer, a logistician, a TQM practitioner and an educator, I am deeply interested in how all these are linked in a networked learning ecology. I don’t think however, that it would attract the interests of many educators or researchers, because it is more related to theory than practice, and at a strategic level rather than tactical day-to-day level. Also, I don’t think it is easily conceived in HE.
So, I do think there is a huge gap between what has been learnt in industry (TQM, Quality Management, and Auditing, Supply Chain Management etc.) and why some of those concepts and application haven’t been introduced into education (properly) as educators and professors perceived all these differently. I understand that this could be critical, and so more substantive research is needed to back up such claims.
I would like to seek your expertise views on the above. I am more interested to learn from your perspectives.
Photo: From a blog post