A new report, The learning circle experience: Findings from the P2PU participant survey, from Michelle Fellows examines free study groups organized for people to take online classes together and in-person, known as P2PU learning circles. P2PU’s work over the last two years has spawned 319 learning circles conducted across 89 cities in the United States, Canada, and Kenya. Over 220 courses have been offered, ranging from resume writing to web design to public speaking. TASCHA’s interest in this subject stems from its prior work on MOOCs, the value of interactive social spaces for peer learning, and the role of public libraries as community connectors.
This report summarizes a selection of data gathered from P2PU’s online learner survey to help inform P2PU’s work promoting learning circles in libraries and building a community of skilled facilitators. The learner survey was completed by 144 individuals in the United States, Canada, and Kenya who signed up for a learning circle using P2PU’s website. The questions examined include:
- Did learners achieve their goals?
- What contributed to learners’ success?
- What challenges did learners face?
- What surprised learners?
- What tips do learners have for future facilitators and participants?
- What role does the public library play in learners’ success?
The results show that at least three-quarters of respondents were able to achieve the goals they set out to achieve in the learning circles and that the public library played an important role in learners’ success. Findings highlight the importance of social and emotional support, group discussion, and facilitator interpersonal skills in non-formal peer learning environments.