The purpose of this research is to build an effective model for communities of practice (CoPs) in higher education. This research was designed to a) investigate core factors facilitating organizational learning process among CoP members and b) propose a systematic CoP model for higher education from a learning organization standpoint. A thematic analysis approach was used based on the open-ended responses of 212 CoP program participants at a South Korean university. The results showed that self-regulated learning activities, positive learning perception, and self-participation were found to be core elements for successful CoP activities at the individual level. At the group level, problem-based learning, facilitator, and collaborative learning environments were revealed as key factors for effective organizational learning. Administrative support, systematic learning support, and overall learning culture were found to be the most important influential environmental factors at the organizational level. The study findings imply that the goals, learning processes, and evaluation systems at the higher education level are fundamentally different from those in industrial settings, and conclude that more customized approaches and supporting efforts should be considered in facilitating CoP activities. Research limitations and future research suggestions are proposed based on the study findings.