Introducing Learning Circles: We Learn Better Together!

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is excited to introduce a new concept in learning to its customers: Learning Circles. Learning Circles are organized groups of people taking a free online class together, in person, at the library. Learning Circles are facilitated by library staff, who are dedicated to supporting the goals of the group and ensuring that group members are effectively working through the course materials.

Learning Circles utilize high-quality online courses on a wide variety of topics. They are courses that could be taken by an individual at an unstructured pace, but organizing the course in a social setting promotes thoughtful discussion of materials, a better sense of accountability and motivation for each student, and a support network for students to encourage one another. Each learner brings unique knowledge and experience to the group, creating a more robust learning environment. Simply put, Learning Circles are the perfect synergy of the quality of digital resources available globally with individual talents and skill sets found in the local community.

A Learning Circle is going on now at Main Library’s Job Help Center—it’s called “Writing Effective Emails in the Workplace” from Universal Class and it meets Thursdays from 10am to 12pm. The 6-week course began April 20, but welcomes new members. To get some background on this topic, you might check out Mastering Workplace Skills: Writing Fundamentals, from Learning Express, or view Digital Communication Skills: Dos and Don’ts in Films on Demand.

Matthews will host a 4-week Learning Circle on Wednesday evenings from 6pm to 7:30pm, beginning May 10. Called “Javascript Basics”, the first class will be an HTML & CSS refresher; following weeks will be an exploration of the JavaScript programming language. If you’re wondering if this Learning Circle might interest you, check out HTML5, CSS & JavaScript Web Publishing in One Hour a Day, by Laura Lemay; Learning JavaScript: Add Sparkle and Life to Your Web Pages, by Ethan Brown; or JavaScript: Absolute Beginner’s Guide, by Kirupe Chinnathambi.

A 3-week Learning Circle on “Resume, Networking, and Interview Skills” will take place at University City Regional. This group will meet Wednesday afternoons from 3pm to 4:30pm beginning May 17, and will learn about customizing application materials for specific job opportunities, preparing for interviews, and growing a professional network through social media and other tools. To review this topic before the Learning Circle begins, check out Networking Know-How, by Zoe Cunningham, available from Hoopla; or Knock ‘Em Dead 2017: The Ultimate Job Search Guide, by Martin Yate.

Look for more Learning Circles on our website calendar, or ask about them at your local branch, and consider joining one on a topic that interests you. Don’t worry if you’ve never taken an online class before—65% of Learning Circle members are new to online learning. Staff facilitators are there to acclimate you to the process and help you decide if a Learning Circle is the right environment for you!