Placements as Communities of Practice (CoP)

Insights from a student and a lecturer’s exploration of CoP in a placement module in higher education


  • Gisela Oliveira De Montfort University
  • Abdullah Daya De Montfort University


Placements are becoming an integral part of undergraduates’ experiences of higher education. They are offered in a variety of subject areas including education, and can be taken by students as different types of work-based experiences, such as placements. The literature supports this focus on placement experiences through the publication of long lists of benefits for students, universities and employers. However, there is also evidence of limitations in placement experiences that hinder this generalized view of placements’ benefits. Therefore, this article offers a reflective account by a lecturer and a student of their experience of using the framework of Communities of Practice (CoP) and socio-cultural concepts in a placement module in higher education. Through this reflective account, the article argues that CoP, as a framework for social learning rooted in participation can support students to engage with the placement’ setting, people and knowledge, when integrated into a placement module. The article also suggests the need for the consideration of additional features of the placement experience, such as structure and pedagogical approaches, thus offering valuable insights to other placement modules in the UK and beyond.


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Author Biographies

Gisela Oliveira, De Montfort University

Gisela Oliveira is a lecturer in Education Studies at De Montfort University, whose research explores students’ transitions between university and the workplace.

Abdullah Daya, De Montfort University


Abdullah Daya is a final-year student of Education Studies at De Montfort University, with an interest in the transition to primary education teaching. 


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How to Cite

Oliveira, G., & Daya, A. (2024). Placements as Communities of Practice (CoP): Insights from a student and a lecturer’s exploration of CoP in a placement module in higher education. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 5(2), 129–147. Retrieved from