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.

About jessykate

Jessy is a technologist, hacker, designer of experimental institutions, and community builder.


  1. Cristian Garner

    Its always good to know that there are some people trying to make even better this experience, Im from Honduras and it’s been hard to make a community, hope the project is a success and i’ll try to help it reach in my country

  2. Sandra Guevara

    P2PU allows to Latin America, reduces the major barriers in global education. I’ll be attentive to the SOSI, I think is a good time to implement ideas of innovation in Latin America.

    I hope to learn more about the project ambassadors.

    Greetings from Colombia, thanks for starting the work in our region and for their dedication. 🙂

  3. Hi.
    My name is Gonzalo, I’m from Mexico. A few months ago I started to study courses at the School of Webcraft P2PU, it was a great experience!

    P2PU is a new way to unify education, study at P2PU implies voluntud , responsibility, autodidact and above all the desire to learn, this is a culture that many students still lack, therefore very important to begin to create a new culture of learning. The ask is how? It is not easy, but we can begin to spread the project across all universities in all different countries.

    For me it is very gratifying that offers P2PU actually.
    Thanks P2PU!

    And thanks to all who make it possible that P2PU continue to grow.

    You can count on my support.

  4. It´s refreshing to look at such projects, as P2PU. In a world where resourses are becoming fewer and fewer, and in the middle of a gigantic wave of social-media + sharing platforms, the opportunity of share your knowllege between seasoned developers and newbies (I´m in the middle I guess); is one that we have to be grateful to try.
    Thanks to Mozilla and their plans to develop a “peer to peer” teaching/learning experience. I´m proud to participate in this endeavour, I´m happy to learn from others like me.
    Greetings from Mendoza, Argentina.

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