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Wikimedia+Libraries/Program/Submission/Learning Circles as a Social Editing Method: Facilitating Collaborative Content Development in Community Spaces

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Title of your proposal[edit]

Name(s) and/or username(s)[edit]

Qumisha Goss (Peer 2 Peer University), Axel Dürkop (Hamburg University of Technology), Lydian Brambila (Peer 2 Peer University)
Email address: lydian@p2pu.org


  • Advocacy and Outreach in Local Contexts

Type of submission[edit]

  • Workshop (75 minutes)

Keywords and hashtags[edit]

content development, peer learning, community engagement


Peer 2 Peer University works with libraries and other community spaces to help people learn together in free, peer-led study groups called learning circles. In this session, we’ll share how libraries and community spaces currently use learning circles to edit Wikipedia, and we’ll explore learning circles as a method to support content development on Wikipedia and Wikiversity. The learning circle methodology is rooted in a commitment to values of open access, community, and peer learning, and we’ll share examples of the work we have done to further these values with our community partners. This session is intended for libraries searching for structured social learning programs tailored to their community’s interests, for subject enthusiasts looking for a community of co-learners, and for content contributors passionate about expanding the content available in Wikipedia and Wikiversity.

We'll present three different ways that libraries have utilized P2PU to deepen the impact of Wikipedia and related styles of decentralized, collaborative knowledge sharing in their communities. One of our partner libraries, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, has led a learning circle where participants learn the basics of navigating and editing Wikipedia. Over the course of eight sessions, learners share their interests with one another and improve their editing skills by writing new articles, improving existing articles, uploading images, and translating articles. Our partners at the Fundația Progress in Romania created a learning circle on editing Wikipedia in partnership with the Goethe Institute of Bucharest. Our partners report that learning circles are effective ways for libraries and community organizations to create free programming for their communities, and they help wiki editors stay committed to the content creation process using a structured, social format.

We will also share experiences from Axel Dürkop’s learning circle about Artificial Intelligence. After having a difficult time finding German learning materials on the subject, the group decided to collaboratively design their own learning experience. Learners announced their interests related to AI at the beginning of the learning circle, and they contributed resources connected to their interests in following sessions. Citizen science can be driven by collaborative approaches to publishing the problem, methods, and results that expedite peer review, and we'll explore the challenge of centering learning circle participants' expertise in ensuring the quality of content without overly relying on academic subject experts. The collective, non-hierarchical environment of learning circles is highly compatible with Wikimedia’s values around knowledge sharing, and we will share strategies for creating content aligned with these values with participants.

The discussion portion of our session will focus on strategies for addressing the difficulties in designing learning experiences without a clear framework for how content will be used by learners. Edit-a-thons are primarily content-creation events and can lack a focus on how the content actually gets used in a learning environment. We’ll share our strategies for supporting groups who have used Wiki software as a learning management system, as well as how we have used our own open-source Course-in-a-Box tools to take a more equitable and collaborative approach to content development.

Expected outcomes[edit]

Our intended outcomes are to:

  • Present libraries with the tools and resources to create structured content development opportunities in their communities
  • Share how learning circles can support more equitable learning experiences for participants
  • Articulate collective values and to explore how Wikimedia’s values apply to learning spaces
  • Organize/instigate a cohort of participants who create their own content-generating learning circles, and to organize an edit-a-thon specifically focused on addressing gaps in existing courses in Wikiversity.

Duration (without Q&A)[edit]

We would like to facilitate a 60-75 minute session but would be willing to accommodate your conference’s time constraints.

Specific requirements[edit]

We will need a projector for our presentation, and we would like tables and chairs set up in a semicircle.

Interested attendees (Please add yourself, and you may indicate your questions to the presenter).[edit]