In 2015, Cristiane Damesceno approached us about conducting her dissertation research on the learning circle program we had just started in Detroit. Things were just getting started, and my initial response was that we weren’t quite ready to bring external researchers into the mix. She pushed back and I’m so glad that she did.
Over the course of next 6 months, she participated in 6 learning circles in Chicago (that’s her in the red jacket!), and provided us with incredible insights that helped us shape our work.
We were immensely proud when she received the 2017 HSS Dissertation award at NC State for Massive Courses Meet Local Communities: An Ethnography of Open Education Learning Circles. Here’s an excerpt from her work, courtesy of Twitter:
“The power of Learning Circles relied on the interactions happening inside the study groups, but also in their relation to other communities. In this study, Learning Circles gave participants entry-level information about a topic. Their power, though, was not necessarily in their content. The participation, peer relationships, and affective bonds that emerged in these circles helped learners become more flexible absorbers of knowledge.”
That’s powerful stuff. Want to read more from Cristiane?