Tampa - Hillsborough Public Library - Learning Circle Feedback

Hello Everyone!!!

I am the evaluation partner for P2PU and their Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) study of which the Tampa-Hillsborough County Libraries are a part. I will be collecting and analyzing learner data as well as other information about the Tampa-Hillsborough and five other library systems throughout the country that are participating in the study. Our goal is to determine how well Learning Circles (LCs) work in various environments with an effort to design support systems which further the success of LCs. Overall, the Learning Circle model was developed for public library systems to increase the likelihood of success in online educational formats for those without college degrees.

Your input is key!! Please share the successes, challenges and opportunities of your experiences with Learning Circles. Suggested topics include a wide array of areas including technology, curriculum, personalities, barriers and sources of personal motivation.

What types of experiences did you find most challenging or rewarding?
Has the branch size, location or demographic you serve impact the success of your Learning Circles?

Your system had the benefit of recent training…were there topics that were more local in nature? If so, have you had an opportunity to implement them? Have you had an opportunity to determine what types of LCs would be good for your branch?

Would you be interested in connecting with other facilitators from other cities in the IMLS study that initially had start-up problems and now have two or more successful iterations of LCs under their belt?

@Megan_Danak Nailah is started to get specific IMLS feedback here. You’ve shared ideas before with us through email, you can also copy and paste some of that overall feedback here too.

Are there other Tampa librarians who will be giving LCs a shot? Maybe you could encourage them to post some ideas here and respond to Nailah’s questions.

@Megan_Danak Hi Megan, I look forward to hearing from you!

Hi Nailah! I’ve sent the information above and a link to this post out to all the library staff who attended our Tampa Learning Circles training (as well as staff who previously led LCs) for feedback. I’ve also told them that if they don’t want to post here they can send feedback to me, which I can compile for you.

Thank-you Megan,

I hope they feel comfortable sharing and they are always welcome to send to my personal email address as well. Nailah.mbiti@gmail.com.

I participated in the P2PU LC training with Nico and in a professional development LC for THPL staff. I enjoyed learning how to be both a facilitator and a participant in my groups. A nice aspect of the LC model is that facilitators have a lot of flexibility to tweak classes in real time to meet the needs of participants.

Additionally, the training allowed different types of learning to take place such as online, in-person, group and 1-1. These differing experience gave me stronger insight into the theoretical and practical underpinnings of the LC education model.

The main challenges I encountered in my LC experiences was the need to find the right course to meet the needs of the particular group. The course information has to be timely and the content has to be engaging to keep participants coming back for multiple weeks. Participants have to find time in their busy schedules to go to the classes and do their homework and/classwork.

Also, the success of the LC experiences depends a lot on the skill level of the facilitator and the dedication of the participants to a collaborative and respectful process. In the end, both the facilitator and participants need to commit to the LC process in order to make the most of this innovative educational experience.

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Thank-you Glynnis for your feedback.

In terms of the course content – were you able to settle on something that you felt was appropriate? Did you seek or get any help from library or P2PU staff? I am trying to get a sense of how motivated and determined a facilitator needs to be to insure the LC they want to facilitate is successful.