Activity: What is a learning circle?

If you have some extra time, this is a great additional activity to help your group come to their own definition of a learning circle.

P2PU is a strong advocate for learning circles, but the concept of peers learning together to address common challenges predates our organization by thousands of years. Therefore, we don’t think we should tell you exactly what is or what isn’t a learning circle - that is for you to decide. From our perspective, there are a few core values that are essential in any learning circle, but beyond that, it’s up to you.

In order to help you come up with your own working definition, we’ve compiled a number of “borderline” scenarios - real life examples of learning experiences that definitely shared some, but maybe not all, core values of a learning circle. We’ve found that talking through these is an excellent way to come up with your own definition.

  1. Cut out each scenario, and present each group with their own set (or just read them online!)
  2. Allow each group 10-15 minutes to read through the examples, and note characteristics, values, and methods that they see across the scenarios on a large piece of paper.
  3. When the time is finished, ask each table to take 5 minutes to come up with their own definition of a learning circle.
  4. Have each group share their definition, and state any places where they had a difficult time.
  5. If there are any common difficulties, speak as a larger group about what does and does not constitute a learning circle for your particular situation.