Archive for Fielding Graduate University – Page 2


The World Cafe Hosting: The Fundamentals course we host in collaboration with the Institute of Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University is offered in a peer-learning format.

…What the heck 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 current level of experience is.

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, 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!

Peer Learning

Responses to Hosting Fundamentals Course

Here’s what graduates are saying about the World Cafe Hosting Fundamentals course at Fielding:


I am a French facilitator based in Paris.  As I was about to start my own little company, I took Amy and Bo’s class between February and April of 2013.  At the end of April, a facilitator that had trained me before called me up and asked “Is your World Café training over yet?”  She had a major client who was ready for a series of World Cafés with 100+ people each, the dates were changed and it turned out that she wouldn’t be available.  Because I had been trained by Amy and Bo, I was the person my trainer chose to call, which provided me with my very first paid assignment as a freelance facilitator!  I teamed up with a consultant and with a fantastic graphic facilitator and I hosted several sessions for that client.  Our sponsor couldn’t believe the level of energy that was in the room!  At the end of the first World Café, a participant came to me and said “I can see it now: I’m not alone”!

* * *

“I’m loving this programme, and find it really helpful in getting me to think more about what I’m doing. I can’t remember anything I’ve done in years that has been so practical and ‘right on’. Thank you!”

* * *

It was such a powerful session, just like the whole course. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of this class and I think it helped me keep centered and positive in a very challenging time in my work life.

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Thank you for all that you have done to make this experience one that will continue to affect me into the future.

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(about the World Cafe with Juanita Brown) “It was such a powerful session, just like the whole course. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of this class and I think it helped me keep centered and positive in a very challenging time in my work life.”

* * *




Amy & Bo were extremely knowledgeable and facile with the material. They were excellent resources and always accessible. 

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World Cafe connected the dots, bringing previous learning together in new ways.

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There is a reassurance for me in being able to clearly articulate the process and, therefore, being able to trust that it will deliver the results. Taking time to create, review and refine a question so that it has the required impact is a key learning from the programme.

* * *

Thanks to this course, I know how to successfully facilitate a world café and use it as an invaluable tool with my nonprofit clients.

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This course helped me regain that wonder and appreciation of the differences and connections that we all have and the responsibility and opportunity we have to make things better together.

* * *

To be honest, I loved the whole experience. The learning, the thinking, the questions, the people, the conversations. Loved it. It’s left me with thoughts about creating a learning community in my new organisation, and about what I can do with some of my bigger clients.

* * *

Amy, Bo, thank you so much for a wonderful learning experience. We all benefited from your expertise at every level on the course.


Here are more comments from earlier sessions of this course…

Learning From Each Other: 10 Tips for Maximizing Hosting World Café: The Fundamentals

10 Key Tips, gleaned from wisdom generated during the Hosting World Café: The Fundamentals courses at Fielding:

1) Complete the Reading Before the Course Starts
This is probably the most valuable advice we heard, and the one most often repeated. The course is fast-paced and once it starts you'll want to immerse yourself fully in the assignments and peer conversation. Having done the required pre-reading will give you confidence, valuable knowledge, & a solid basis for fruitful participation.

2) Post Your Weekly Assignments Early in the Week
You'll be doing the bulk of your coursework in rotating World Cafe "tables"; each week you'll join a new table and get a new assignment. Each assignment has two parts: 1) responding to a question, and 2) building on each other's responses.

This is a team process, so by posting your response right away on Monday you give not only yourself but your whole table the best chance of receiving maximum benefit from the week's knowledge-building process.

3) Devote Regular Times to Your Coursework
This course has a regular rhythm and finding your own beat within it will help you keep up and get the most from the assignments and your World Cafe conversations. You'll find your own pace, but most participants find that devoting an hour or so, at least two or three times a week, is a good rhythm.

4) Fill in Your Profile & Read Each Other's
One of the challenges of working online is getting to know your fellow participants without being able to see each other or get visual cues. One of the simplest and most useful ways to learn about each other is by utilizing participant profiles.

Upload a photo of yourself and share personal details in your profile that will give others an idea of who you are beyond your role or position. Give links to websites that will reveal more about you if you have them. When you join a new table, start out by reading the profiles of the people you are with. Refer back to people's profile often to get perspective on who you are working with and gain insight into their thinking.

5) Participate, Participate, Participate
Given the largely peer-learning format of this course, the key to receiving the most value and best quality of learning from it is, quite simply, participation. If ever there was a case to prove the old maxim "you get out what you put in", this is it. What's most interesting here is that in this course, as in life, you're not in it alone. The quality of your participation automatically raises the bar for everyone else, as theirs does for you. Your active contribution can help stimulate a culture of learning and collaboration that yields exceptional results for everyone, not only during the course but also extending far beyond it. 

6) Attend the Optional Study Groups
One of the most popular improvements we've made to this course over time has been to extend opportunities for personal engagement through additioal optional "real time" sessions. These synchronous sessions are highlights for many participants and they are highly recommended. Use this time to learn from senior World Cafe hosts who will join us for occasional session, engage each other and utilize "real time" conversation to understand your weekly assignments, and get support for anything you need help with.

7) Frequent the Watercooler
While the ongoing discourse of the curriculum will be happening at the Café tables, we also have a "watercolor" or forum where informal or over-arching conversation can take place. Many participants in the course have said they wished they would have made more use of it, and asked that we put more focus on it when offering new courses. This is also the place where you can ask general questions of the group or request help from the presenters, as well as explore other topics you find valuable.

8) Take Advantage of the Senior World Cafe Hosts Presenting Your Course
This is a rare opportunity to be mentored by Bo Gyllenpalm, one of the early European contributors in the development of the World Cafe process and a pioneer in applying the World Café principles and method in an asynchronous environment. Bo was on the committee for Juanita Brown's dissertation (which is one of the core reading texts for this course) and an extraordinary resource. We don't know long Bo will be a presenter, so work with him while you can.

Bo's co-presenter Amy Lenzo pioneered the World Café process in a synchronous online environment, and has been a key member of the World Cafe Community Foundation since 2005, guiding the development of the World Café Signature Learning Programs since its launch. Working with her offers excellent opportunities for deepening your grasp of this work, understanding the new modalities for presenting it, and engaging the larger world of World Cafe practitioners.

9) Come Prepared for an Adventure
Although it is offered through an accredited graduate university and can be quite academically rigorous, this course is perhaps a little different than classes you may have encountered in the past. It calls for opening your mind to new possibilities and suspending reliance on old beliefs and assumptions that may be limiting you. It asks you to embrace the idea that the wisdom you seek may be standing right before you in the hearts & minds of people who were strangers before the course started. Embrace this spirit of adventure to really receive the treasure waiting for you on the journey.

10)  Claim your Credits
The course offers 6 CEUs (continuing education units) and 19 CCEUs (coaching continuing education units), which you can claim with Fielding's help to support your ongoing professional requirements and/or extend your academic or professional credentials.