The name and acronym - Participatory Learning and Teaching Organization, or PLATO - defines us well.
PLATO is a self-directed, volunteer-led, nonprofit organization serving more than 1,400 lifelong learners living in and around Dane County. Most members are approaching or actively enjoying retirement. All share a passion for learning and a desire to stay engaged with the world and with others who share their interests. No formal education or university affiliation is necessary to join.
If you enjoy self-directed, volunteer-led lifelong learning, PLATO is an ideal way to learn, contribute to others’ learning, enjoy new experiences, and meet new friends.
- 40 or more participatory courses each fall and spring
- Lectures, socials and special events
- Guest Courtesy Card from UW Libraries (a $50 value)
- Weekly electronic newsletter and digital notices of courses, lectures, and special events
PLATO is about more than information. It’s about interactions. Meet other people with curious minds through classes, special events, bus trips, and member committees.
“We especially value the in-depth friendships we’ve already made, the intelligent curiosity and openness of the people we’ve met, and the wide range of classes.”
PLATO, the Participatory Learning and Teaching Organization, is a learning-in-retirement organization that relies on active member involvement to develop and provide participatory learning, teaching, and social opportunities for members. PLATO also financially supports educational opportunities for learners of all ages in greater Madison. PLATO provides these services in association with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Be an inclusive and welcoming organization to all members of the greater Madison community who wish to continue learning and/or teaching in retirement.
PLATO is a 501(c)(3) organization run by its members who contribute their time and effort to carry out the administrative tasks. It is affiliated with the Division of Continuing Studies of the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-DCS), which provides programmatic and administrative support.
PLATO members share their expertise, skills, and talents to keep the organization strong and vibrant. We are always looking for more members to help keep PLATO running. If you would like to become involved in PLATO’s administration, contact any Board Director or Committee Chair.
Your neighbor asks “So what is this PLATO thing you go to?” Do you find yourself stumbling through an explanation? You’re not alone. The Communication Committee found that members were wanting a concise and easy description of PLATO that would help them explain its benefits to friends and acquaintances.
There already are a number of formal descriptions of PLATO, including a comprehensive mission statement, but our goal was to give you a short, compelling sentence (see Descriptor below) to express your experience with PLATO and its offerings.So whether you show someone the PLATO Logo that spells out our full name or share the Descriptor sentence below, be sure to add what PLATO has meant to you -- courses, lectures, plays, tours, meet-ups with colleagues -- however PLATO helps spark your love of learning.
PLATO is a community of intellectually curious adults, typically 50 and over,
Today PLATO has about 1,400 members. That's an impressive number of individuals who value how PLATO enriches their lives. Imagine how many additional people could join and enjoy the PLATO community if they were aware of it and understood its potential. Please tell your friends about PLATO and share the experience!
In 2017 PLATO
marked its 30th anniversary with the largest course line-up and roster
of lectures, trips, and other special events we've ever offered.