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Community Learning Exchange

(inspirational bonk suffered by The Crisses)

This article is a !

This idea is going to take a lot more thought and development than what I have here.

The vision is that a group of people get together for the exchange of learning resources (books, videos, etc.) and of actual knowledge (teach each other). The idea is to keep it free or low cost, as opposed to the learning center businesses cropping up everywhere that are pretty darned expensive.

People can network on various and sundry skills and give workshops to others.

Problem: What to do about leeches who join the group but never contribute?

Charge money? While this is definitely a nonprofit idea, the idea of just giving knowledge away isn't always attractive to everyone...and space to give workshops may cost money. Even a workshop in someone's home deserves a basic compensation fee and a pot for "insurance" in case the hosts suffer some generic damages. Charging money will discourage leeching, no matter what the money goes to afterwards.

Problem: Should "presenters" get money for this?

I've figured out that charging even as little as $10 per hour of class time is getting more and more it should be possible to charge less than that and have decent classes where the presenter gets a *little* something for their trouble. I was thinking that maybe a charge of $5 per 2 hrs or something. First the room fees are deducted, then something like 80% of the profit goes to the presenter, and 20% goes to a pot that will help cover the room fees if any of the workshops/classes intakes do not cover the room fees.

Since the idea is an Exchange program, another thought is people who have given a presentation/workshop get to enter other workshops at a discount or for free...this freebie should last months or a year per for one group, giving a workshop might give you a "discount ticket" to other events for 3 months because there's not enough presenters in the area to allow for more than that, while in another area there may be so many members that presenting might allow for 12 months of "discount tickets". Or a number of actual, physical, discount tickets can be given to the presenter, each good for one group-sponsored workshop (longer workshops can cost more "tickets") and the tickets can be used for guests and family members' entry fees -- which might inspire more members in the long run!

Thought: Can people who can't afford the meeting/workshop be "scholarshipped" in?

Usually this can only happen if the rental space is very cheap &/or if the other people are charged more. For example, there can be a "basic fee" of $5/2hrs, but if someone pays $10/2hrs they're allowing another person to be scolarshipped in -- and this can be voluntary to the group. Scolarships should be based on need, and maybe on the seniority of group members (this is an EXCHANGE program -- people who have presented who hit hard financial times deserve to get into classes more than freeloaders, for example).

Thought: a local newsletter that simply advertises local workshop venues and learning-related classifieds (such as "full Encyclopedia set for sale: XXX-555-1212") and encourages free & low cost workshops by advertising them separately from more expensive venues (like classifieds that showcase ads that are free or cheap).

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Gunpowder? Please comment below:

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