Communities of practice are social structures based on voluntary participation of members, who regularly share their knowledge. They are natural and very common phenomenon and they can be found in many organizations as Hewlett Packard, Shell or Daimler Chrysler. This article deals with various definitions of these structures, mentions different types of these communities, the way of their development and also various roles of their members. The article is finally focused on the role of these communities in the field of higher education. The contribution of communities of practice for both areas, research and education, is defined. The article shows the possibilities of how communities of practice could facilitate development in area of higher education.