The Social Structure of Networked Improvement Communities: Cultivating the Emergence of a Scientific-Professional Learning Community

A burgeoning set of education-related organizations join networks each year, reflecting a shared belief that problems in education are too complex for any one educator or organization to solve on their own and that collaboration can support educational improvement. The goal of this paper is to describe how networked improvement communities (NICs) create a social structure to catalyze the type of community that can solve complex problems. We draw from prior theorizing, the research literature on network and learning community development, and observations of developing NICs to articulate a framework for network development. The framework is intended to be an analytic tool for thinking and reasoning about NIC emergence and maturation.