Communities of Practice are challenging. But the results can change the profession you work in for the better, and maybe even make the world a better place.

How’s that for a reason to go social?

Hearing First is an organization that supports the listening and spoken language outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. They knew that a change was needed in the professional practice. Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) experts such as speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and teachers of the deaf make an incalculable difference in the lives of children, but they faced two daunting challenges.

  • A limited number of qualified professionals with the essential knowledge and skills to guide families toward a spoken language outcome for children with hearing loss
  • Professionals traditionally worked in isolation and without the benefit of sharing, problem solving and staying current and that improved LSL practice

Members of the profession called for new ways of learning in face-to-face meetings and via online learning modules. Hearing First instead chose to invest in a social platform. This decision enabled virtual connections without geographic boundaries, knowledge and skill exchange, and co-creation of content.

As a result of Hearing First's Telligent Community implementation, they united disparate groups of professionals. The community fulfilled their need for a single place to collaborate and confer in private about how best to guide and coach children and their families. A few of the benefits to Hearing First’s community of practice included:

  • A forum for discussing key issues of importance to the LSL profession
  • A way to focus the efforts of LSL interventionists on cross-disciplinary efforts to create helpful resources
  • A venue to deliver online learning activities, especially enabling geographical distant colleagues to engage in learning and critical observation activities necessary for the profession
  • A place to share best practices

 The decision has worked out well. The community has become a unique place on the Web for LSL professionals where they can interact, ask and answer questions, share their successes and challenges, learn, and grow. Since launching the LSL Community last year, Hearing First has kicked off a second community to support parents of children with hearing loss as well.

There’s much more to the story. Read an in-depth case study about how FeverBee helped Hearing First here.


Todd Nilson is the director of consultancy for FeverBee, a top global consulting organization that provides consultancy, training, and technology to help companies build thriving online communities. Their work is based on proven social science and data-driven insights. Join community management experts to talk about your challenges and get access to dozens of useful resources and templates at feverbee.com.

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