14 Jun 1.2 Types of The Cyber Café
Some principles are the same with the Language Cafe sessions but there are specific issues that have to be considered in the framework of a “cyber language café”. The sessions in the cyber language cafe can be organized in 3 types that can be developed on an independent basis or an interdependent basis:
- Synchronous cyber café is the kind of learning that happens in real time. This means that you, your colleagues, and your facilitator interact in a specific virtual place, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. In other words, it’s not exactly anywhere, anyhow, anytime. Methods of synchronous online learning include video conferencing, teleconferencing, live chatting, and live-streaming lectures.
- Asynchronous cyber café happens on your schedule. While your course of study, of facilitator or peers will provide materials for reading, resources for viewing, assignments for completing, and evaluation forms, you have the ability to access and satisfy these requirements within a flexible time frame. Methods of asynchronous online learning include self-guided lesson modules, streaming video content, virtual libraries, posted lecture notes, and exchanges across discussion boards or social media platforms.
- Blended cyber café combining the above 2 forms of learning offering some face to face support during meeting of the Language Cafes. (see above) In this way the live interaction between the facilitators and teachers/trainers shall help to “transfer” the Café’s aims and methodology to an online experience primarily solving issues that are related to major stress factors like absence of ICT skills, lack of ICT tools at home, stress of using ICT, if available, lack of time or motivation to be involved in online activities. The facilitators this way used the Cyber Café to initiate and help migrants become familiarized with ICT tools necessary, so that they have the independence to explore resources alone and create a network of communication and support, so to help each other when someone does not follow the face to face sessions of the Language Café.
Τhe type 1 (synchronous) can also be combined with the type 2 (asynchronous) if teachers wish to do so. During video conferencing sessions an initiation to the platforms’ signing up system would be advised, so to familiarize teachers with this tool, as many people are completely unaware of these forms of learning and they feel threatened, when asked to participate in such initiatives. Exploring the possibilities of the cybercafé platform (material resources and interaction of the online community) can lead a person who was negative in the first phase to change attitude.
Synchronous cyber café
If you’re the kind of learner that likes active discussion, immediate feedback, and a personal familiarity that you can only get through real-time interaction, you’re probably a candidate for a synchronous learning experience.
This experience comes with more than just engagement though. There’s a case to be made that synchronous online learning is simply a superior way to learn, that it allows for a more dynamic exploration of topics, ideas and concepts than is possible in a medium with time lag.
With synchronous online learning, you’ll interact regularly and frequently with your peers and facilitators. This provides regular opportunity for face-to-face discussion, individual guidance, and perhaps even the chance to establish a mentorship.
If you’ve chosen cyber café because of your hectic and unpredictable work schedule, synchronous learning may present you with some challenges. The defining characteristic of this learning experience is its adherence to a set schedule. Discussions will take place at established meeting times.
The above concern is especially pressing if you’re a person on the go. If your work or life requires extensive travel, or you live in a place with limited connectivity, you’re probably always carrying a laptop and always searching for a wireless signal. That search could be pretty stressful if you’re desperately trying to log in for a videoconference.
Asynchronous cyber café
If you’ve got a demanding schedule or weird hours, you’re probably an asynchronous learner. Your learning will typically revolve around materials that can be accessed on your own time, (though often within a set time frame like a week or two). Materials might include text-based lecture notes, self-guided interactive learning modules, or pre-recorded lectures and podcasts.
One of the most empowering features of asynchronous learning is the fact that your experience is typically self-guided. Read at your pace. View on your time.
If you like the personal touch, and you do your best pontificating when you feel like people are actually listening, asynchronous learning can be a lonely experience. Social media and email simply can’t deliver the same kind of intellectual energy as real-time interaction. This atmosphere is also a less collaborative one.
Risk of Apathy
While working in a self-guided environment sounds really great and empowering, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Are you truly the kind of learner with the drive, not just to pace yourself and commit to a set of personal goals, but to remain passionate and enthusiastic about the subject matter without the support and evaluation of an instructor?