Learning circles connect people around a topic of common interest, supported by freely accessible learning resources. While the group's facilitator is not expected to be an expert in the subject, it's the facilitator's job to identify these resources before the learning circle begins.
Many facilitators use free online courses for subject material because they are designed in a linear format that is easily adaptable to group study. While these so-called MOOCs ("Massive open online courses") work quite well as the content basis for learning circles, there is a broad world of openly-available information that comes in all shapes and sizes. With some time and practice, nearly any learning resource can be adapted to the learning circle model, from YouTube playlists to software tutorials to the US Citizenship Exam website. (See Adapting a Course)
Regardless of where the content comes from, there is no such thing as a perfect course! No matter how well content is arranged, a course will never know you as a person, help you make decisions, or tell you when you need to look for answers somewhere else. The learning circle format and the power of peer learning do a lot of work to create a great learning experience. At its best, a course is a starting point for a community of learners to reach common goal, wherever that path may lead.
P2PU's Topic Guides
Our topic guides help facilitators choose courses related to popular topics, and they include helpful practices and additional readings suggested by our community.
P2PU's current list of guides to popular topics
P2PU's Learning Resource Library
P2PU's community-curated library of open course materials
P2PU maintains a space where the learning circle community can collect and share open courses found from across the web. With a few exceptions, P2PU does not create or own this content—it is primarily a curated list. Materials added to this list are moderated and removed if they are duplicated, no longer available, or otherwise inappropriate for learning circles.
Facilitators are not limited to the materials in the P2PU learning resource library. Anybody with a P2PU account can add a learning resource to the P2PU library by filling out the "Add a Resource" form which asks for the following information:
Creator (e.g. MIT, University of Michigan, Khan Academy)
Format (the type of resource)
URL: Where the resource (or information about the resource, such as a publisher's description of a book) can be accessed
Description (Write 1-2 sentences describing what people will learn from this resource. This is what learners will see when signing up for learning circles, and what facilitators will see when selecting a resource.)
Topics (Add your resource to one of P2PU’s existing topic guides.)
Keywords (Select or create a few keywords that will help learners and future facilitators find this resource.)
License (copyright status of the materials, often found on the course or provider's page)
This information is shared on detail pages for each individual course. These pages are updated automatically to include details about how the materials have been used for learning circles, including:
1–5 star community ratings (from facilitator and participants)
Links to a dedicated discussion about the course in the P2PU forums