Hello everyone, my name is Helen and I'm a public librarian in South Australia. My library service is a multi-branch library on the southern outskirts of Adelaide. I spent many months investigating the possibility of running a pilot program in my library and finally it's happened! I received such positive feedback from the participants that I would like to share my experience with others who may be contemplating this type of program.
The course I chose to facilitate was entitled 'The art of photography' which was provided through Open2Study, an Australian MOOC platform. I contacted the lecturer and the Open2Study team, who were all very supportive and keen to be involved. I also made contact with the P2PU team who were amazingly positive and encouraging. When Grif referred me to the Facilitator Handbook, I couldn't believe my good fortune! It laid out, step by step, the whole process I was developing, right down to templates for publicity, communication and feedback.
The course I facilitated comprised of 4 weekly sessions which were attended by a total of 12 participants. Nine of the participants completed the course and gained their certificates which were provided through the Open2Study platform. Each session lasted 2 hours, during which time we watched a series of online tutorials together, then completed the pop quizzes and final assessments individually on our laptops.
One of the questions I asked participants was to rate their experience in the course on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high). Of the 8 respondents, all scored 7 or above, with 3 recording a score of 10. I thought this was a great endorsement for the particular course and also for the model I was piloting. I also asked the participants to suggest future topics which could be offered and received a range of ideas to follow up. One participant said she just loved learning this way and would attend regardless of the topic offered!
I have since given a presentation to my library management team, who were so pleased with the result of the pilot study that they have made a commitment to run a learning circle in each of the 6 branches in our library service.
I would strongly encourage any public librarian to consider facilitating a learning circle. It's a fantastic model through which to provide a wide range of adult learning topics, requiring only a meeting room with internet connectivity and a facilitator who is keen to get it up and running. It's fun, cost-effective and very rewarding!
My sincere thanks to Grif and the P2PU team for all their support throughout my journey.