Alternative Names for Learning Circles?

Hi all!

For those who don’t know me, my name is Alexis Burns and I am the Learning Circles Coordinator VISTA at the Kansas City Public Library. I recently accepted a new position that focuses more on program awareness and marketing.

To increase interest and promote the empowering and inclusive nature of Learning Circles, the marketing team here at the library has decided to come up with an alternative name. We threw around ideas like “Study Swap,” and “DIY Learning.” This is still a work in progress, and I noted to them that I wanted to reach out to the community for input before we decide.

If I remember correctly, this discussion came up before, but in our old community forum. I am interested to see what other names there are for Learning Circles around the world.

So, my question for the community: does anyone have experience using a different title for this learning format? Especially to other library employees- did this change anything? Did it make a difference in interest or attendance?

Thank you in advance for your input!

The library in Cologne (Germany) has been running a series of learning circles and they refer to them as “learning teams”, which works better in the German translation. “Lernkreise” or “Lernzirkel” sounded funny.

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Found the old thread. It was brought up first by Steph Miller from Multnomah, OR who I’ll nudge to join the forum now! She talked about learning circles as:

A learning circle is like a book group for ideas

Others chimed in:

To me, as I have understood P2PU, a Learning circle is something more than a «book Group for ideas». We have the kind in the Nordic countries as well, what we Call «book circles». That is a group og Equals, let’s say 7-8 persons, that read the same books, the one after the other, and then comment about what they have read at the circle Meetings. A book circle meat regularly, physically. A Learning circle is to me – like the study circle – more organized Learning. Ideas are more than welcome, of course, but it is not only (New) ideas, but Learning specific subjects by peer Learning/Learning from each others experience (experiantal Learning). All best, Sturla

Kate from CPL said

We say that they are like book clubs but for online classes.

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@Alexis_Burns there’s a few other directions to explore based on how other organizations have defined learning circles in the history thread.

Different variations of study circles and learning circles can be found around the world. You’ll find dialogue circles 1 in Australia, and quality circles in Japan. Some people just meet and learn things together and don’t have a name for it (they just say it works fine!). A few other terms that have connections to the general idea are study clubs , community action groups , rural development groups , reading circles and folk schools .

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Dear Alexis,

In Herning Library (Denmark) we tried to promote our first round of Learning Circles (by that name, in danish “Learingscirkler”) but there was not a lot response. My marketing team told me to change the name, so now I am trying with “Culture in a community”. Hoping the marketing lady is right;0)
Christina Wilther Kaagaard

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Christina, in Denmark, do they not already have an name for “study circle” or studie cirkel? I would imagine it would translate best as an online guided studie cirkel or something like that?

Yes… we do fx ”Study group” but as my marketingscolleague says “That’s is not sexy…” so this time we tried to sell our Learning Circle on it’s context….