PLATO: Where learning never retires and curious people learn from each other.

PLATO is a community with more than 400 members, mostly retired or semi-retired, who meet to discover and share knowledge on an unlimited range of topics. Quantum physics to European history; modern poetry to Hollywood entertainment; all are on our menu. Subjects, old or new, are objects of our exploration. We study, explain and appreciate the world of knowledge - together.

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  • One Of The Finest Life Long Learning Communities
    — The Wall Street Journal
  • No One Does It Better!
    — The New York Times
The PLATO Society is the oldest and most respected peer-led lifelong learning organization in Los Angeles. We offer more than seventy peer-led discussion groups per year across three fourteen-week trimesters. Our classes are held during the daytime in our Westwood Village facility. We also hold additional learning activities, including our monthly Colloquia, which are open to the public.

What our members are saying...

  • People are here who have contributions to make intellectually and socially.
  • No lectures. No professors. Only discussion groups.
  • Collaborative learning with like-minded professionals attracted me.
  • I love being in a room with awesome intellects and motivation to learn.
  • I want to participate... I don’t want to do something passively.
  • SDG participants form a community around learning different topics.
  • I have an aversion to passive learning and was yearning for a something I call problem based learning approach. PLATO is designed specifically for that type of peer exchange.
  • It is fascinating that you can jump into a topic without prior expertise just for the purpose of gaining some knowledge.
  • It is fascinating that you can jump into a topic without prior expertise just for the purpose of gaining some knowledge.
  • You can take an SDG on a some scientific subject without knowing anything about it but get really into it and be excited to learn.
  • I am semi-retired and was looking for classes. The course selection at PLATO looked really interesting was just what I wanted.
  • When I stopped working, I felt isolated. I joined PLATO for the social interaction as well as the intellectual stimulation.
  • When I retired, I was afraid my brain would turn to mush and was looking for something engaging. PLATO provides in-depth and broad topic coverage with high caliber discussion and contributions from participants.
  • The discussion group concept is intriguing, as opposed to listening to a teacher.
  • I was always interested in learning and I knew that when I retired I would take classes. When I looked at the website I was taken by the range of topics and the collaborative nature of the classes.
  • The wide variety of SDGs provides a range of experience from flat out fun to work.
  • People I have met and been in class with are extraordinarily bright and interested in learning.
  • PLATO is all about higher learning on a variety of topics with a wide social element
  • PLATO is an unusual selection of people who have curiosity as a common denominator
  • I get a better understanding of a full range of coverage on a subject in a single SDG than in college level classes.
  • Even though I did not know anyone at a PLATO activity, I felt a certain kind of friendship from the group as they made me feel comfortable and respected.
  • I try to take subjects I don’t know much about but always wanted to know about.
  • Everyone is an expert of sorts on their own topic, but when all these minds are brought together, it makes learning much better. The variety of participant experience creates a more nuanced understanding of subjects.
  • The variety of viewpoints is fascinating. You think something is cut and dried, but then someone says something that throws you off because you never thought that way about it before.
  • The discussion groups put life into subjects. We are always learning something new because someone has a different point of view.
  • As the SDG proceeds, I don’t want it to end and often find that participants continue the discussion formally or through email exchanges even two years after a class has ended.
  • PLATO is more collegial than other adult learning environments; connections are made more easily at PLATO analogous to your first year in college.

What we study...

More than 20 topics are offered each term covering a broad spectrum of knowledge, literature, history, philosophy, science, sociology, economics, art and more. Our subjects are all suggested and led by our members.