Learning Groups for Creating Pathways for Civil Legal Justice Courses

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While the four Creating Pathways to Civil Legal Justice (CPCLJ) courses are designed for the individual, self-directed learner, they also can be used as the core learning content for a group learning experience with peers – from a small, self-organized group of a few co-workers at a branch to a larger, multi-system group organized as an ‘official’ training by a system, region or state.

Learning groups are lightly facilitated study groups for people to learn together. They provide a collaborative environment that has the potential to increase motivation as the group sets attainable goals together and connects their learning to practical application. Learners in a group share ideas and insights, answer each other’s questions, and learn from new perspectives and solutions. They form bonds as a community and reflect together on progress, which boosts confidence.

The CPCLJ courses are particularly well suited to collaborative learning. Since civil law is complex and local, the course work includes understanding local community needs, creating a collection of local legal resources, and both finding and partnering with local legal service and information providers. All of these activities can benefit from a collaborative approach that improves the outcomes for libraries and avoids duplication of effort.

Learning groups are most effective when someone assumes leadership for organizing and guiding the group through the structure and pacing of the course material. A smart facilitator helps group members connect with the course content and with each other so that learners can enjoy the benefits of a learning group environment. And because the courses provide all the learning content, which is augmented by the Learning Group Facilitation and Civil Legal Justice Group Activities guides, the facilitator does not need to be a trainer or have any special knowledge about the topic to effectively facilitate the group learning. 

Getting started with learning group facilitation

If you are interested in organizing and facilitating a learning group for these, or any other self-paced courses, start with WebJunction’s Learning Group Facilitation Guide. The guide covers the basics of organizing, structuring and leading a group of learners through a self-paced course on any topic. It also provides advice on how to maximize learning in a group, keep participants motivated and on track, foster the sharing of ideas and resources in an inclusive environment, and boost each other’s confidence in applying their learning.

Facilitating groups for the Civil Legal Justice courses

To help your learning group get the most out of these courses, we created the Civil Legal Justice Group Activities guide [PDF, 11 pages]. It provides discussion questions, group activities, course notes and facilitator tips specific to each of the four courses.

For each course, there is also a short Learning Group Facilitation video with additional course-specific tips for group facilitators. 

Learning Group Facilitation 1: The Justice Gap and the US Legal System (3:51 min)


Learning Group Facilitation 2: Civil Legal Issues and Resources (3:14 min)


Learning Group Facilitation 3: Partnering with Legal Service Providers (2:53 min)


Learning Group Facilitation 4: The Legal Reference Interview (3:25 min)

You will also find copies of these videos and links to the Facilitation and Group Activities guides at the bottom of each of the Civil Legal Justice courses to help you organize and guide a group of peers through the course.

These resources were created as a part of the Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice through Public Libraries project, in partnership with the Legal Services Corporation.

This project was made possible in part thanks to financial support from these organizations: