The World Cafe Hosting: The Fundamentals course we’re hosting next month through the Institute of Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University is offered in a peer-learning format.

…What the @#!* does that mean?!” you may ask.

Well … let’s start with what peer learning ISN’T, at least in this case.  
Peer learning isn’t being left to your own devices without guidance or attention. My co-presenter Bo Gyllenpalm and I will be paying close attention to your learning process, and we’ll be there to respond to your questions and offer help at crucial times.

Peer learning isn’t about an unstructured environment. This course has been carefully designed as an immersion into the World Cafe method, and the principles that give the method its form. Deepening your understanding of these principles will give you the solid ground you need to design, host, and harvest World Café events in any sector, and help you evolve your hosting practice no matter what your level of experience.

Peer learning doesn’t use the standard one-to-many model of education, although you will have access to all the written and multi-media resources you need, as well as engagement with some of the most experienced and innovative World Cafe hosts in the world.

There will be weekly assignments and expectations, but within that structure you are the one that determines the pace, and ultimately the depth, of your learning.

But peer learning isn’t just student-led learning; it’s an interactive, participatory process that relies on real engagement. You have a lot of responsibility in this course – for your own learning, yes, but even more importantly, for the level of your engagement with others. In this course, your peers are your most powerful allies; the depth of your engagement with them will determine the depth of both their learning and yours.

Make no mistake – this course will ask a lot of you. It’s not something you can skate through and watch a video later to catch up on. It is a robust, professional-level learning experience at a premier graduate learning university. You will come out of it with academic and professional credit, and a foundation for your World Café hosting practice that you simply could not get otherwise, even after years of practice on your own. Why? Well one reason is because you have a circle of quality peers to learn with and from.

There are research studies and significant statistics to back this up, but on one level peer learning is just common sense. If you think about, it’s the way we as human beings have always learned – from and with each other. And it’s one of the World Café’s basic premises that together we know more than any one of us alone could possibly know.

The fact that we all learn and grow through the networks of meaningful conversation that make up our lives and work is the foundation of Conversational Leadership. And it’s key to many of the principles that inform not only World Cafe hosting practice, but all participatory engagement. In other words, it’s a great muscle to build and keep well-exercised.

Peer-learning is not just a one-way street, either. Bo and I both learn a LOT from participants every time we offer this course – about the course and what will make it better (this will be the 5th one we’ve offered so you KNOW it’s going to be great :-), but also about our own hosting practice and what makes us better, more effective World Café hosts.

So come join us – we look forward to learning with you! (The 2014 course starts September 28th, and the early-bird registration discount ends September 8th)

Peer Learning

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