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Introduction to designing a virtual collaborative, intercultural exchange process (May-June)

Introductory teacher training | 29 May – 23 June 2023

Registration deadline: May 12, 2023

This training aims to provide teaching staff with knowledge and tools to create a virtual learning process that fosters intercultural learning and collaboration. 

In the four training modules, participants will learn about the essential elements of designing a collaborative, learner-led exchange process and how a facilitative teaching approach fosters a meaningful intercultural exchange online. After an introduction to the Virtual Exchange pedagogy in the VIS context, this training will instruct participants in the practical application of the model, including how to: 

  • set learning goals that foster the potential of intercultural virtual learning; 
  • adopt a process-oriented approach and design according to best practices
  • understand the positioning of the learner and the teacher in a VIS project; 
  • promote learning and constructive online engagement by design as well as through facilitation of the exchange process;
  • cultivate effective group dynamics and relationship-centred learning online; and
  • engage in a constructive partnership with your VIS counterparts abroad.

Through weekly self-study (1.5-2-hours) and four online group meetings (2-hours), participants will experience how combining synchronous and asynchronous learning components enhance learner engagement. Participants will also gain first-hand experience with the tools covered in the training through collaborative, action-oriented assignments and exercises focussing on the design and implementation of VIS projects.  

By the end of the training, participants should be able to design and facilitate a VIS project including a sustained student exchange that promotes group-learning, encourages 21st-Century skill building like reflection and self-awareness, and creates a space for deep learning.


Duration: 14–16 hours in total, between 29 May – 23 June 2023

Language: English and Dutch 

Weekly group session time slots:

  • English: Tuesday, May 30, June 6, 13 and 20 from 15.00 to 17.00
  • Dutch and English: Thursday, June 1, 8, 15 and 22 from 10.00 to 12.00 (Language offered depending on registration) 

Weekly time commitment: Self-study: 1.5 – 2 hours self-study + 2 hours virtual group session

Platforms: Zoom & Canvas 

Successful completion:

  • Attend at least 3 out of 4 synchronous sessions
  • Complete 80% of the module tasks required

Registration deadline: May 12, 2023


Week 1: Introduction to VIS and Virtual Exchange pedagogy

  • Learn about adopting the Virtual Exchange pedagogy in VIS projects as a means to reach specific 21st-century goals and learning objectives.
  • Understand the significance of intercultural learning and exchange in enhancing the impact of the learning experience in VIS.
  • Recognize the benefits of adopting a process-oriented approach.
  • Understand the importance of constructive collaboration with a VIS partner and how it can support the implementation of a high-quality exchange.
  • Develop skills and strategies to establish and maintain a good collaborative working relationship with a VIS partner.

Week 2: The student exchange journey, the teacher and technology in VIS

  • Gain knowledge on how to design the student exchange process in VIS.
  • Learn about the essential building blocks to promote learning in the VIS student exchange. 
  • Identify the importance of group dynamics in virtual settings and the benefits of developing effective group dynamics for virtual student exchange sessions.
  • Learn strategies for promoting group ownership, such as reflecting on expected behaviour, norm-setting, and goal-setting.
  • Reflect on the teacher’s role and gain understanding of a facilitative teaching approach. 
  • Explore the role of technology in the successful design and implementation of effective virtual intercultural learning experiences.

Week 3: Promoting meaningful engagement, learning and collaboration in VIS

  • Understand the importance of directionality and quality of engagement in promoting deep learning and impactful cross-cultural experiences in a virtual student exchange.
  • Identify the benefits of relationship and connection-building elements and how they can be applied to online learning.
  • Gain familiarity with assessing engagement in virtual groups.
  • Apply best practices for engagement activities, for synchronous as well as asynchronous engagement methods. 
  • Learn about different communication tools and how to cultivate collaboration through interactive assignments.

Week 4: Dive deeper

  • Gain knowledge on the best practices of this collaborative, learner-led intercultural exchange approach; 
  • Complete the collaborative design lab assignment. 
  • Learn strategies to address disengaged groups and/or learners online
  • Understand the importance of critical thinking in engaging with differences (in VIS and beyond) and recognize how it can help students to deepen their understanding and learn from others.
  • Reflect on the learning/training experience, both as a participant and as a group.  

Attendance & participation 

Trainees are expected to be available on the preferred time slot for the full duration of the training (4 weeks), ensuring their video and audio are working in order to actively participate in the group discussions. In between training sessions, materials are provided in the virtual learning environment to review and reflect on, in preparation for the synchronous session. 

Trainees are required to:

  • attend at least 3 out of 4 synchronous sessions;
  • complete 80% of the module self-study tasks. 

Introduction to designing a virtual collaborative, intercultural exchange process (May-June 2023)

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