Helping students build intercultural competence is a common goal of education abroad programs. But many study abroad courses aren't designed to support that goal.
Using 20 years of research and experience, Quest Cultural Solutions has developed 5 design principles that help faculty create courses that support intercultural learning (Laux, 2021).
"We can have incredible experiences for students if we design them correctly."
~Kim, International Relations Professor
The 5 Design Principles
Many study abroad courses aren't designed to help students build intercultural competence. Using 20 years of research and experience, Quest Cultural Solutions developed 5 design principles to address this issue (Laux, 2021). The principles work in any discipline or location.
#1- Don't be Fooled: Be Intentional about Course Design One of the primary goals of study abroad programs is improving students' intercultural competence. But don't be fooled! Many education abroad courses aren't designed to support that goal. Students need courses that are intentionally designed to help them build intercultural competence. Learn more about Don't be Fooled.
#2- Blurred Lines: Increase Interdisciplinarity Higher education is siloed by disciplines, but intercultural learning transcends a single field of study. Faculty need to blur the lines between disciplines by integrating multiple disciplines into their courses. This gives students a range of perspectives that help them understand and use cultural experiences effectively. Learn more about Blurred Lines.
#3- Less is More: Create Space for Intercultural Learning Faculty often assume that there's plenty of time for intercultural learning in education abroad programs, but that's not usually the case. Academic requirements compete with intercultural learning for valuable class time. To create space for intercultural learning, faculty need a scheduling and prioritization strategy that balances intercultural learning with other priorities. Learn more aboutLess is More.
#4- Scaffolding: Build an Intercultural Learning Framework Many students aren't ready or willing to engage in intercultural learning. To help students prepare for, engage in, and apply intercultural learning effectively, faculty need a framework--or scaffold--that supports intercultural learning in education abroad courses. Learn more aboutScaffolding.
#5- Reinvention: Improve Course Design Designing a course that supports intercultural learning is easier said than done. It requires expertise, and it takes time, effort, and experience to develop that skill set. Improving course design to support intercultural learning is a long-term commitment that demands advanced levels of flexibility and responsivity. Learn more aboutReinvention.
Using the 5 design principles helps faculty create courses that:
Support intercultural learning Help students navigate different cultures Prepare students for the global workforce