The circle is managed by distributed leadership and suggests that each participant be engaged in leading one of the group projects. They can be used in a wide range of formal and informal contexts. We provide many examples of learning circles used to connect learners in different locations at all levels of school, from primary to graduate-level work. Other examples include the use of learning circles in professional development, evaluation, and action research.
The Learning Circle is a structure for collaborative work that shares features with other community-based learning groups but also differs in specific ways. Most importantly, it is a task-based learning community in contrast to a practice-based or knowledge-based learning community (Riel and Polin, 2004). Instead of one shared group task, learning circles focus on a set of smaller intersecting group tasks, each lead by one of the circle participants. Effective learning circle work involves building a level of trust and developing shared norms of trust, openness, and reciprocity. (The menu links will show how learning circles are used for different purposes, for example in k-12 classrooms, with university students, with teachers, action researchers, and with evaluators. )
After a description of the model we present more about:
The Process of Designing Learning Circles
Next up: A Brief History of Learning Circles