i really liked the first third of this paper - the description of ancient communities of inquiry and curiosity, the cultural integration, the mentorship and informal interactions. but i found the authors' attempts to abstract lessons from these sources to be sort of "flat"... i dont know a better way to describe it - they lacked life and excitement.
the 7 characteristics of knowledge sharing communities extracted were 1. sharing ideas, 2. multiple perspectives, 3. experimentation, 4. specialization, 5. cognitive conflict and discussions, 6. reflection, and 7. synthesis.
looking at this list, it's actually a pretty good list, though not necessarily novel. but it's missing any intuition about how to achieve those characteristics. i guess this is similar to others' comments that it was a very descriptive piece but didn't help much with identifying specific steps to take.
i'd like to see research which compares and evaluates different attempts to achieve those 7 qualities!
thieme recently pointed me towards erin knight's post on learning design principles, which is a nice compliment to the above list in that it provides practical ideas about designing good learning environments with several of those qualities.