We Can Work It Out: Reflections From The Berlin Workshop

“I believe our biggest accomplishment [at the Berlin workshop] was the incorporation (at least in me) of a certain sense of urgency and excitement about the need to continuously improve the platform to ensure p2pu.org becomes a trusted, effective and awesome space for learners online.”

– Niels Sprong, long-time P2PU contributor

On November 8th amazing people from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Greece, the Netherlands, South Africa, the UK, and the USA (to name a few) piled into a small room in Berlin, Germany to work out current obstacles and dream up the next big ideas for P2PU. The mission: take our current platform and make it the best place for open+social learning online.

In 3 days of face time we covered more ground than we have as a dispersed group over many months. (Our Executive Director, Philipp Schmidt, can explain why.) Riding the wave of momentum we broke down our vision into tangible goals and went to work.

Smaller groups broke out into heavy duty design sessions. Work carried into dinner, resulting in 12 hour days.

First we tackled the user experience and limitations of the current site. We came up with draft designs for almost every part of P2PU.org: the home page, learner profiles, course & study group creation, group layout, course & group listings.. and the list goes on. We kept meticulous notes on our topics in our favorite collaborative tool – http://pad.p2pu.org/workshop.

We put away our computers and pulled out the pens and paper.

Then we started chipping away at the larger implications of open+social learning. How do learners connect? Who needs P2PU that doesn’t have access? How can we encourage serendipity and empower all people of the world to take charge of their lifelong learning?

We imagine all possible needs of a social learner.

We started drafting plans for making P2PU.org easier to localize into other languages and supporting ambassador programs in emerging economies. We took a deeper look at challenges, our current learning experiment, and how they allow learners greater freedom while simultaneously providing a supporting structure in the social learning environment.

We also thought deeply about how the community can take action to sustain the project financially. Yes, we are an organization run largely by a voluntary community, but administration and development require continual investment. Plans for small donations and contributions are now underway.

Every little bit counts.

It’s hard to believe how much ground one small group can cover in just a few days. We worked dawn ’til dusk, and often into the night. World be assured – P2PU is run by a group of extremely dedicated individuals who are on a mission to change the way people learn.

In the words of contributor Danny Javier Bautista:

I am very optimistic about the future of P2PU.  I believe in a P2PU [that is] universally accessible, recognized around the world.. helping to break the barriers of traditional education. The traditional model gives people what they want, P2PU delivers what people need.

In P2PU tradition of following the endless wisdom of pop music, we can work it out.

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