Learning Circles in Libraries

The main goal of the project is to help adult learners to access useful educational content available online, study effectively and to improve their lifelong learning skills. To achieve this goal the partners will popularise the concept of local Learning Circles in 5 European countries. We will implement and disseminate the idea and methodology of Learning Circles, which – supported by libraries – will promote the concept of lifelong learning. Educational content used by the Circles will be based on existing, available (free or low cost) online resources.

FRSI is the project leader, and our partners are: Peer 2 Peer University (United States), Bibliothek Kőln (Germany), Fundatia Progress (Romania), Biblioteca Lucio Craveiro da Silva (Portugal) and Suomen eOppimiskeskus ry (Finland).

What are Learning Circles?

Learning circle is a self-organized or facilitated group of people who are using the chosen e-learning course in the pre-determined time period – meeting and learning in one place. This methodology was designed to alleviate many of the issues that learners face with online courses, including a lack of motivation, digital barriers, and isolation. The concept of learning circle was created by Peer 2 Peer University on the basis of cooperation with Chicago Public Library.

The Learning Circle facilitator does not have to be an expert in the subject, so with a little practice and training, anybody can facilitate. The group meets regularly once a week for 6-8 weeks. After two rounds with P2PU, the Learning Circles are now an ongoing part of Chicago Public Library’s adult programming. Given the success in Chicago, P2PU released an open source Learning Circle toolkit, comprised of software tools, facilitation guides, a list of curated courses, and promotional templates that make it easy for librarians to organize learning circles at their branch. P2PU is also working with a variety of organizations, including Kenya National Library Services, Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (Paris, France), and more than a dozen U.S. public library systems.

Project’s data

Budget: 368.926 EUR
Funding: Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action: Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices.
Duration: 36 months – September 2018 – August 2021;
Partners: Fundacja Rozwoju Społeczeństwa Informacyjnego (Poland), Peer 2 Peer University (United States), Bibliothek Kőln (Germany), Fundatia Progress (Romania), Biblioteca Lucio Craveiro da Silva (Portugal) and Suomen eOppimiskeskus ry (Finland),
Coordinators: Małgorzata Makowska, Magdalena Jackiewicz.


  • developing an educational package: a White Paper, a database of online resources, a manual, an e-learning course dedicated to adult education, aimed at supporting adult learners in lifelong learning and learning online,
  • preparation of a group of experts – the ‘learning circles’ facilitators,
  • establishing approx. 60 ‘learning circles’ in libraries,
  • dissemination of the methodology of ‘learning circles’ in libraries.


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Real Opportunities for Adult Online Education. The White Paperdownload

The White Paper excerpts in Partners’ languages:

(Finland): Hankeraportin liite: Aitoja mahdollisuuksia aikuisten verkkopohjaiseen oppimiseen – näkökulmia Suomesta – download

(Germany): Echte Chancen für die Online-Erwachsenenbildung – ein Whitepaper – download

(Poland): Edukacja online osób dorosłych – perspektywy rozwoju – download

(Portugal): Oportunidades para a educação de adultos online. White Paper – download

(Romania): Oportunitățile mediului online pentru educația adulților. Cartea albă – download


Facilitators Resources