World Café Discussion Method

Drawing on seven integrated design principles, the World Café methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large-group dialogue.

World Café can be modified to meet a wide variety of needs. Specifics of context, numbers, purpose, location, and other circumstances are factored into each event’s unique invitation, design, and question choice, but the following five components comprise the basic model:

  1. Setting: Create a “special” environment, most often modeled after a café (i.e., small round tables covered with a checkered or white linen tablecloth, butcher block paper, colored pens, a vase of flowers, and optional “talking stick” item). There should be four chairs at each table (optimally)—and no more than five.
  2. Welcome and Introduction: The host begins with a warm welcome and an introduction to the World Café process, setting the context, sharing café etiquette, and putting participants at ease.
  3. Small Group Rounds: The process begins with the first of three or more 20-minute rounds of conversation for the small group seated around a table. At the end of the 20 minutes, each member of the group moves to a different new table. They may or may not choose to leave one person as the “table host” for the next round, who welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round.
  4. Questions: Each round is prefaced with a question specially crafted for the specific context and desired purpose of the World Café. The same questions can be used for more than one round, or they can be built on one another to focus or guide the conversation.
  5. Harvest: After the small groups, individuals are invited to share insights or other results from their conversations with the rest of the large group. These results are reflected visually in a variety of ways, most often using graphic recording in the front of the room.

The basic process is simple, but complexities and nuances of context, numbers, question crafting, and purpose may require consultation of additional resources. World Café provides many such resources for new hosts, including a free hosting tool kit, an online community of practice, and World Café Signature Learning Programs, at http://www.theworldcafe.com.

(Adapted from http://www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/world-cafe-method/)

 

Faculty Spotlight View Other Award Winners

Tosha Dupras
College of Sciences Tosha  Dupras The goal of my teaching, and center of my teaching philosophy, is active learning. One of my ultimate objectives in teaching is to facilitate learning by helping students to gain the necessary skills to take control of and become active participants in their own learning. I truly believe that knowledge gained thro...

Amanda Raffenaud
College of Health & Public Affairs Amanda  Raffenaud To teach, to mentor, to instruct is an honor. But in addition to these roles, I teach in order to develop students for success, I am a developer. I see potential in all students and know that they are destined for greatness. Their time with me in the classroom is but a blip in their journey in life. So in the shor...

Josh Colwell
College of Sciences Josh  Colwell I joined UCF after 17 years at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I was a Research Scientist. There, I took every opportunity to teach, though teaching was outside my normal duties. My love of teaching was my primary motivation for moving to UCF. My emphasis is on the fundamental concepts rather than...