Not only are we are looking for innovative ideas to develop CULTURESHIP’s online experience, we are also searching for the latest pedagogical methods developed that could fit our collaborative network’s particular conditions, and how can we benefit most from each one of them. This week, we want to introduce you the concept of Learning Circles, a method for taking in-person online courses. It was published by our American Partner, Peer to Peer University, and Chicago Public Library. A presentation we prepared, based on the Facilitator’s Handbook, can be found here.
In P2PU’s own words, Learning Circles are
“study groups for learners who want to take online courses together, in-person. [They] are peer supported, facilitated by non-content experts, hosted in publicly accessible spaces, designed to be taken with few prerequisites, and free for learners.”
This means it is a method for people to voluntarily form groups with the sole purpose of enhancing the experience of online learning. This has been done for a while, in the form of small, local initiatives all around the world. However, P2PU and Chicago Public Library have been experimenting with many learning circle ideas and have published a handbook with what they consider are the crucial requirements, conditions, difficulties and outcomes of forming a Learning Circle.
This great project by P2PU seems to be very simple yet very effective at bringing people together and maintaining high levels of expectancy, motivation and tolerance against frustration when taking online courses. By forming in-person groups enveloping the online experience, it offers the conditions of group dynamism that has been the main obstacle for the high-fly of online education. Moreover, this initiative edges a push to the tendency to create spaces for collaborative working.
The CREATURE team in Paris is looking forward to try this new idea. We are working together with the team from P2PU to transpose Learning Circles into the CULTURESHIP platform. We will be starting the first experimental CULTURESHIP Learning Circle in Paris next Thursday March 10th. We will continue writing about Learning Circles in the future, narrating our experiences and looking to adapt the method to the specific needs of our project. Keep in touch and feel free to send any feedback, or if you wish to start a Learning Circle in your region.