Why is it necessary? The effectiveness of Intercultural Collaborative Learning in university education
Recently there has been strong demand for environments where students from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds learn together. Why?
One reason is that due to globalization, young people increasingly need fundamental or generalized skills in order to build the society of the future and succeed in ever more complex international communities. In particular, it is crucial for each individual to develop such abilities given the mountain of immense problems currently facing humanity, such as climate change and as yet unknown pandemic-causing viruses. These will only be overcome if we transcend our linguistic and cultural differences to rationally examine the current situation, share ideas, and build solutions to create sustainable communities. Thus, young people with the mindset and skills required to do this are urgently needed in modern society. The methodology of Intercultural Collaborative Learning, or ICL, enables the design of educational environments in which students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can meet and generate ideas while learning to respect each other's differences.
With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating change at universities, ICL offers new learning environments that can contribute to qualitative improvements in education. Currently, student mobility across national borders is restricted and study abroad is impossible for nearly all the world's universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this does not mean that student desire for international learning has also stopped. By connecting diverse students through online ICL, it will be possible to offer collaborative learning opportunities similar to those experienced while studying abroad. Online ICL also has the potential to be more than simply a substitute for studying abroad.
In the past, students who pursued and realized their goal of studying abroad enjoyed the benefits of international collaborative study experiences. However, only a handful of students out of the student body are able to meet the various requirements for studying abroad. In contrast, online ICL can be incorporated into regular university classes, providing internationally-connected learning opportunities to students who are unable or unwilling to go abroad. In other words, adding ICL to the educational curriculum could qualitatively improve university education as a whole.
©Global Learning Center, Tohoku University