Peer Learning Circle Training Info

This two-day peer learning circle training is a balance between Groupwork Institute input and a focus on people’s particular facilitation learning needs and challenges.

We work with you to ensure this experiential learning meets the learning needs of your team.

Training Outline


Workplace training start times can be between 9.00am and 9.30am and finish times can be between 4.30 and 5.00pm, or as negotiated.

 Day One

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Outline of the two days
  • Agreements for our time together
  • What is a peer learning circle (PLC)
    • rationale
    • benefits
    • principles
  • What tools are required to facilitate a PLC

Morning Tea

  • The Community of Selves™ – this is our tool for self-awareness
  • Facilitation micro-skills – input and practice using participants’ learning needs


  • The PLC model – modelling and practice

Afternoon Tea

  • More practice/work through challenges
  • Reflection on the day’s learnings
  • Evaluation of day one – focus for day two

Day Two

  • Reflection from day one
  • Check agenda for the day
  • Revisit micro-skills for facilitating PLCs

Morning Tea

  • Giving ‘Hearable Messages’
    • More practice – in bigger groups


  • PLC possible hot spots and tricky bits – practice

Afternoon Tea

  • Practicalities of applying the model
    • Where to from here?
    • Reflection on learnings
    • What participants will do differently
  • Evaluation

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Training content – Peer Learning Circles

Model of collaborative practice

The Groupwork Institute’s Model of Collaborative Practice is introduced to provide the foundation for our approach to peer learning circles (and facilitation in general).

The peer learning circle process

Clear processes and principles enable groups to pool their wisdom and learn from one another in peer learning circles.

Micro-skills for facilitation

There are a range of micro skills essential to running peer learning circles. It is these micro-skills that bring peer circles (and facilitation in general) to life. Some of these skills will be familiar to you, some will be new. In this training, we will introduce a number of micro-skills. For example:

  • naming and normalising
  • validating
  • helping people hear each other
  • facilitatory leadership
  • hearing and validating people’s contribution
  • synthesising group wisdom
  • welcoming difference – facilitating strongly held differing views
  • dealing with un-named dynamics.

Self-awareness and emotional resilience

The more we understand our own inner ‘selves’ and their interplay, the better facilitators we will be. First facilitate thyself! Come prepared to know (and accept) yourself better! This will entail:

  • mapping our own Community of Selves
  • getting to know and working on the fears and other self-limiting messages that hold us back as group facilitators
  • develop the emotional resilience to manage our own reactions when faced with challenging group dynamics.

Giving ‘hearable’ messages

To learn from one another we need to be able to say what we need to say and hear what we need to hear. This helps us to communicate across our differences. Our model for giving hearable messages is central to getting the most out of peer learning circles.

Discretionary input

At the start of the training, we ask participants to talk about their challenges and learning edges. This provides an accurate basis for prioritising the focus of the discretionary component of the training around their particular needs.

As required, there can be further Groupwork Institute input around these issues, including useful techniques, processes and some exercises.  Content is always related to people’s experience. There is a range of learning tools used – discussion, reflective activities and smaller group work. There will be ample time to address people’s challenges.


Substantial time is devoted to practice to embed the learnings, and to apply the techniques to address participants’ challenges. This will include coaching, exercises to explore particular areas, personal and group reflection time, small group practice and socio-drama. In facilitation training, there is no teacher like practice!

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Outcomes of the Peer Learning Circle Training

Reported outcomes from participants using this model include:

  • Greater willingness to ask for and receive assistance and advice from sources outside people’s normal realm
  • Increase in ‘people skills’ generally
  • Greater insight into one’s own strengths and challenges
  • Increased problem solving ability
  • Improved work practices
  • Access to practical collaborative workplace processes that will strengthen the effectiveness of participants’ endeavours
  • It gives an ongoing opportunity to practice good people skills which then can be applied to every other aspect of their work and life.
  • Increased capacity for participants to facilitate PLCs
  • Increased capacity to facilitate well anywhere
  • Increased staff morale, creativity and job satisfaction

This training will provide the following organisational benefits:

  • Embed within your organisation the capacity to undertake effective peer support and supervision
  • Spreads and embeds people’s knowledge and experience much more effectively throughout the organisation
  • Strengthens people’s ability to facilitate generally
  • Greatly increases team bonding, openness, support and challenging of one another
  • Improves overall skills in helping people work well together
  • Peer supervision builds a sense of collaboration and strengthens the team.
  • Can save time for the co-ordinator or supervisor who will need to do far fewer one-to-one sessions.

Our capacity to do this work

The Groupwork Institute has been providing independent facilitation services and training to managers since 1984. In 2001 we first offered the yearlong Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation, the first of its kind in the world.

This two day training draws from:

  • Our own model of collaborative practice, which has evolved from our experience of offering management and facilitation services since 1984.
  • Development of our own Peer Learning Circle model which has been well road tested over more than two decades.
  • Our experience of offering training to managers publicly and in-house. We continually refine this work in response to participants’ feedback and integrating new material from the broad realm of management education.
  • Our own unique units which we have previously offered through our Advanced Diploma of Management, since 2002. This is, in effect, a collaborative management course wrapped around the nationally recognised qualification.
  • The units we have developed in our Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation. This Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) approved Advanced Diploma is privately owned and offered by the Groupwork Institute as the world’s first nationally recognised facilitation qualification.

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