What is a learning circle?



So what exactly is a learning circle?
From our perspective, there are a few core values that are essential in any learning circle, but beyond that, we think that you should define a learning circle for yourself.

Here are some resources that can help you:

  • Some slides that introduce the learning circle program.
  • An infographic to help understand the basics of learning circles.
  • A 2-minute video introducing P2PU and learning circles.


Sometimes people define learning circles in a sentence, such as:

  • A free, peer-led, lightly-facilitated group of learners coming together to build a learning community and achieve both personal and communal educational goals.
  • When more than 1 person meet multiple times in order to meet personal goals and objectives around a common topic.
  • A group of people who gather with the explicit intent to learn something together and not simply consume information.

Other times, people focus on surfacing common values:

  • A learning circle must be free, interest-driven, non-hierarchical in structure, and inclusive.
  • A learning circle is not pass/fail, teacher-led, top-down, exclusive, passive learning.

So, what is a learning circle to you? We often run an activity to help people define learning circles for themselves. Try out this activity with your colleagues and post your reply at the bottom of this thread!

Should we have an activities category?

Do you have any data about the constitution of the most successful learning circles ?

Is there any prerequisite for the constitution of the group ? How many experienced people do you need inside the groupe ? Don’t you need a minimum of one person with more experience inside the group ? What happen is there are only beginners inside the group ?

Thanks, your answer could help me to launch the first learning circle group in Paris !


@diane_Lenne that is a good question. I don’t know if there’s an optimal mix of experience required in a group. Ideally the difference in experience shouldn’t be too big, but even if it is, it could still be a good learning circle.

During the first meeting, ask learners to share their level of experience and goals for taking the learning circle. If there is a wide range of experience and goals, ask the learners how they imagine helping each other. Maybe you decide to split into an advanced group and beginners group, maybe you decide to assign study pairs with someone being more experience, maybe some learners decide to first do another course?

If there is some expected level of skills - like basic digital literacy when doing a programming course - make sure that learners are aware of that when they sign up.