Learning Circle pilot in Adelaide

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.


Hi Helen,
I’ve just started to look into trialling learning circles in our Library (I’m also a public librarian).

I was wondering if you were contactable for a brief chat about your experiences in your first MOOC and since then? Either by phone or email.

If you have the time, I’m contactable on liz.griffiths@willoughby.nsw.gov.au.

All the best with your programs.

Kind regards,

Hey @lizgriffiths how did your first learning circle go? If I remember correctly, you were going to present your findings to a library conference.

Hope to be in touch,


Hi Nico,

I’m sorry I haven’t been more in touch recently. I presented at a conference and then ran away for a while to have a baby

I did test the learning circle idea with some members of my digital literacy group and it was really warmly received. However it was only for a few meet-ups and really just to dip our toes in.

I’m returning to work in August and plan on diving right into programming around learning circles. In the meantime, I’ve actually started one for local mums (outside of my work role) and we start tomorrow!

I’m still very passionate about this idea. Hopefully I’ll have more to update you when I return to work.