Host a Learning Open House

Host a Learning Open House


I’m not sure where this idea came from, but I wanted to get it out before I moved on to the next thing:

Wat if we encouraged everyone we knew to host “Learning Open Houses”, in which they would demonstrate exactly what they were learning and how they were learning it? What if we let others talk about their own learning as a way of letting others into their world? What if we hosted events online where we just sat and listened to one another show off their learning artifacts?

What if we asked one another every day, “What are you learning right now, and would you show it to me?”

I want that. I want to see the environments that others are creating around themselves that best spur their learning. I want to see students hold Learning Open Houses and I want to see employees do the same. I want to see demonstrated learning all over the place, and not just in short tweets or in random serendipity. I want to see extended conversations, where I get a formal invitation to come and look at someone else’s learning.

I want Learning Open Houses to be like art exibits, but where you get to touch and manipulate the art.

I want Learning Open Houses to be like Back to School Nights, but where everyone is showing off their “school of one”.

This idea is hitting me over the head again and again the more that I think about it.

What would you do in a Learning Open House? How would you plan it? Where would you host it? Who would you invite to show your learning to?


  1. I couldn’t help but think, “This open house idea sounds like the creation of a special place — like a classroom.”

    But I know you’re seeking something like a classroom not bounded so much by time, space, and common agenda. We’re in the process at CU-Boulder of designing a new collaborative space centered around our learning science program. We want many of the things you described, and we too are grappling with how to make it work. One idea I heard this morning I liked: Encourage people who use the space to “check in” their use by logging their presence and activity on a whiteboard. That way, people who use the space later get a bigger picture of the work people are doing, and they can go find those people and join in. It’s silly to wait until somebody publishes a paper to find out what they’ve been thinking about.

    I’ve tried hosting my office hours in a Google+ Hangout, and I think that’s a start. I’d like to see a trend of #officehours and #openhouse make their way into our streams. The limitation there, I think, is that what we post is too focused on the self — we post as an “I,” not usually as a “we.” I don’t think it’s selfish or intentional, I think structuring “we” online is just more complex than structuring “I,” and making the step from individual learning to collaborative learning takes effort.

    Then again, a bunch of people just don’t want to show anybody how the sausage is made.

    1. I am in love with the idea of hosting a weekly (or at least regular) #officehours or #openhouse in a Google+ hangout. I think I will be starting it up this coming week. Do you have yours set up at a regular interval? It would be amazing to start thinking about these in the same way that people think about Twitter Chats. Putting together a calendar of learning #openhouses would be a great way for anyone who is looking to dig deeper or ask questions of people who are learning about something in particular to have an entry point. Thank you so much for continuing to flesh out this idea.

  2. Kyle A

    I have been thinking about this too..I love the idea and love Raymond’s method of making it happen. My thought was similar, it was topical ‘sit-and-go’s’. Yes, like online poker. The concept of having a small group of people gather at a table to discuss a topic for short amount of time. Topics are posted and when 5 people join, off you go. Norms, outcomes and sharing methods could all be established ahead of time. It would also be cool if people could take private notes on the other users in that environment.   Also, it isn’t dependent on a set schedule. They just happen when you get enough people interested in talking about that topic. 

    1. Andrea

      Woops, posted too soon.  

      I thought about hosting a “salon” for homeschoolers to share original work and inquiries.  But I really like the idea of a “learning open house” for adults (and kids).  Salons were, in a sense, precursors to TED talks, also a platform for sharing learning.  

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