What makes a course well-suited for learning circles?

Facilitators are free to use any set of learning resources (online course, book, database, etc.) for learning circles, so long as a) they have permission to use the resources and b) and access is free for participants.

Beyond this, we drafted a list of the most important attributes of courses when considering them for learning circles at our 2019 P2PU Gathering in Boston.

This list serves as both a reference for facilitators when choosing courses, as well as a wishlist for course developers who wish to create educational resources to be used in learning circles.

The Basics

  • Open access
  • No login required
  • Works with low bandwidth
  • Downloadable / available offline
  • Written in ~10th grade English
  • Mobile friendly


  • Well-written course summary
  • Description of who created the course (and why!)
  • Honest assessment of pre-requisites
  • Suggested pacing for 5-8 weeks

Course content

  • Project-based (or at least goal-oriented)
  • Includes discussion prompts and group activities
  • Presents opportunities for further exploration (rather than required homework)
  • References to additional resources available elsewhere on the web/in the community
  • Includes multiple forms of content: data, exercises, handouts, video, examples, etc.
  • Written in a way that the facilitator doesn’t need to have supplemental resources (like a teaching guide) in order to facilitate.
  • A recommended linear structure (to help the facilitators), but presented in a way that it’s ok to jump around and choose ones own path.

Wrapping up

  • Rubric for self/peer evaluation
  • Place to share supplemental resources / build connection to local next steps
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