Learning Circle Handbook

A comprehensive resource all about learning circles: how they work, how to start one, and how to enjoy the process!

Learning circles are free, lightly-facilitated study groups that meet regularly to learn from open educational resources. Rooted in values of community, peer learning, equity, and open access, a learning circle typically has the following components:

  • a facilitator (responsible for organizing the learning circle, not teaching: the group should work together to understand the material; see Facilitating Peer Learning)

  • a group of learners (ideally 4–12 for an engaging group dynamic; see Finding Participants)

  • a regular meeting space (in-person or online; see Setting Up Meeting Spaces)

  • recurring meetings (90 minutes/week for 6–8 weeks is a sweet spot for building a productive group culture without being alienating due to the time commitment; see Meeting Structure)

  • dedicated learning materials (often an online course; see Choosing a Course)

Interested in starting your own learning circle? Read on!

This handbook is maintained by Peer 2 Peer University (aka P2PU), a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and sustaining learning circle communities in public spaces around the world. Learn more about us.

All materials in this guide are licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license. You are free to download (click "Export as PDF" at the top right of any page), distribute, remix, and re-host these contents.