Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Sixth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Employability Through Experiential Delivery of Intercultural Communication Skills Online
Isabella Christine Crawford, Stephanie Swartz, Belem Barbosa, Susan Luck

Last modified: 05-05-2020


International trade, enabled by rapid technological advances, has had a profound effect on the way employees work and communicate in a borderless, virtual environment. Within this context, classroom collaboration through online virtual teams can be an effective strategy to enhance intercultural and employability skills. Research in this area advocates that using digital media to connect students with international classrooms is an easy and efficient way to develop intercultural competence. In this paper we describe and present the results of one such initiative. The authors have designed and implemented virtual and experiential intercultural communications assignments across four countries: Germany, Portugal, Scotland, and the United States. By creating virtual teams and then simulating a real-world team project, we have been able to study how students work with, and react to, teammates from other cultures. We explored students’ views and opinions on the expected outcomes of their international experience in virtual teams and the potential impact of online intercultural learning experiences on their future employability. The findings suggest that collaborative online international learning (COIL) can help to develop the kind of soft skills that employers value and need in the globalized workplace.

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