Lumen Learning Announces New Solution to Improve Teaching Effectiveness and Bolster Student Success in Higher Education

Lumen Circles professional development platform and services focus on timely capabilities such as online teaching; active learning; open pedagogy; evidence-based teaching; and diversity, equity, and inclusion

Portland, Ore. (June 16, 2020) – Education innovator Lumen Learning announced plans to expand its work beyond open educational resources (OER) and digital courseware with a new offering that will help higher education faculty improve their teaching. 

Lumen Circles employs a unique professional development platform and facilitated fellowship model to connect faculty and advance abilities for teaching effectively online, improving course design, increasing student achievement, and learning from one another over time. Like the Lumen Waymaker and OHM digital courseware, the Lumen Circles methodology is grounded in evidence-based practices for effective learning and teaching. 

“Higher education is in a period of unprecedented change with faculty members at the center of a forced transformation,” said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning. “Our goal with Lumen Circles is to help faculty develop new skills to support their students’ success and their institutions’ outcomes in the face of changes that demand flexibility, resilience, and sensitivity to how learning happens.” 

The Lumen Circles solution is uniquely suited to the current climate. Faculty members begin by selecting an area in which they want to develop. Cohorts of 10-12 peers with similar interests convene in the private learning environment of the Lumen Circles professional development platform. Members then devote a few hours per week over five to nine weeks to expand their knowledge, teach and apply what they’re learning, reflect on how it’s working, and share feedback with one another.  

Mark McBride, Senior Library Strategist at the State University of New York System Office said, “There has never been a more urgent need for educators to be attuned to what they can do every day, and in any modality, to better support their students’ learning.” SUNY has previously used peer-based learning circles to support faculty development and plans to work with Lumen Circles during the 2020-2021 academic year. “Through this process we’re able to empower our faculty members as they work together to improve their pedagogy. We can also quantify how their professional growth aligns with their institutional and personal goals to transform teaching in ways that impact student success.” 

“Overwhelming research evidence points to the fact that it’s not enough simply to adopt a new textbook or learning tool,” noted Dr. David Wiley, co-founder and chief academic officer of Lumen Learning. “If you want to improve student outcomes, you have to invest in faculty efforts to improve their teaching. They need more than an occasional webinar or lunch hour workshop. They need opportunities for sustained, evidence-based professional development that can help them become more capable and effective at supporting their students’ success. Lumen Circles makes it possible to do this essential work affordably and at scale.” 

Image: The Lumen Circles Platform

The Lumen Circles professional development platform uses a virtual learning circle model to help higher education faculty members explore and apply effective teaching practices to support student success.

Since its inception in 2012, Lumen Learning has been committed to providing effective and affordable teaching resources for educators and students. Lumen has always partnered with colleges and universities to support wide-scale adoption of open educational resources and digital courseware to promote teaching autonomy and lower course materials costs. Faculty development is a logical expansion of Lumen’s work given the inseparable connection between student success and effective teaching. 

Lumen Circles are suitable for any faculty member, regardless of discipline, modality, learning tools, or career stage. Cohorts for those using Lumen Waymaker and OHM courseware will also be available.

Lumen Circles are available for fall 2020. More information and pricing are available on the Lumen website

About Lumen Learning    

Since 2012, open education leader Lumen Learning has partnered with colleges and universities to support teaching and learning innovation with a focus on improving affordability, access, and student success. 

Lumen Waymaker and OHM digital courseware provide evidence-based learning design and data-driven content improvements to increase learning and student engagement using open educational resources (OER). These course materials replace expensive textbooks in high-enrollment college courses and make the transition to open content simple, reliable, and effective for faculty and students. 

Lumen Circles provide faculty professional development to build skills and advance teaching practices. Grounded in research about how to increase learning and student success and delivered through peer-based virtual learning groups, Lumen Circles provide a supportive setting for faculty to expand their capabilities for teaching in dynamic educational environments. 

Over 350 institutions across the U.S. use Lumen-supported digital courseware for in-person, online, and blended courses. Materials created by Lumen are published under Creative Commons Attribution licenses and contributed back to the education community. Learn more at, and visit our course catalog at

©2020 This announcement is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license 

Media Contact

Julie Curtis, VP Strategy & Communication

Lumen Learning

+1.503.840.5569 |