Learning Circle: A Tool for Understanding Root Cause

The purpose of a learning circle is to develop a deeper understanding of community problems and issues experienced by agency constituents. The learning circle fosters critical thinking and analysis among circle participants, who begin to form and re-examine their assumptions about their role in community life and their ability to propose solutions for community change.

A key goal of learning circles is to learn together about why things operate the way they do, opening up to new ideas, and thinking about the implications of these ideas for the organization’s work. Learning circles can be used for many different purposes, such as learning about the history of a population you serve, policies affecting the work, or ideas about how to include social change activities in your daily practice.

In any learning circle, the group sets aside a designated time and place – whether weekly or monthly – where staff members and others in the organization come together to meet. This helps keep the social change portion of the work front and center and allows the organizational players to think about the issue you have decided to take on and decide on actions that you can take.

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