Virtual Exchange to Develop Cultural, Language, and Digital Competencies
Global competence is the capacity to analyse global and intercultural issues critically and from multiple perspectives, to understand how differences affect perceptions, judgments, and ideas of self and others, and to engage in open, appropriate, and effective interactions with others from different backgrounds on the basis of a shared respect for human dignity.
2. Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange
- People-to-people interaction and dialogue.
- The learning goals include soft skills such as the development of intercultural awareness, digital literacy, group work, communication, language competency, etc.
- Participants will be seeking mutual understanding and co-creating knowledge, based on their own experiences.
- VE programs explicitly address intercultural understanding and engaging with difference.
3. Theoretical Background
4. The Virtual Exchange Design
4.1. Course Description
4.2. The Pedagogical Design Based on ADDIE and the Five-Stage Framework
“In summary, the five-stage model provides an example of how participants can benefit from increasing skill and comfort in working, networking, and learning online, and what e-moderators need to do at each stage to help them to achieve this success. The model shows how to motivate online participants, to build learning through appropriate e-tivities, and to pace e-learners through programmes of training and development. Individual access and the induction of participants into online learning are essential prerequisites for online conference participation (stage 1, at the base of the flights of steps). Stage 2 involves individual participants establishing their online identities and then finding others with whom to interact. At stage 3, participants engage in mutual exchange of information. Up to and including stage 3, a form of co-operation occurs whereby each person supports the other participants’ goals. At stage 4, course-related group discussions develop and the interaction becomes more collaborative. At stage 5, participants look for more benefits from the system to help them achieve personal goals and reflect on the learning processes.”(, p. 11)
- Students will be able to define and evaluate core elements/perspectives of intercultural communication/interaction in an international exchange,
- They will be able to communicate and collaborate effectively in diverse cultural environments (working with others from different countries), and
- They will be able to use a variety of technological tools to communicate and complete tasks in the VE.
4.2.5. Evaluation (Assessment)
5. Research Methodology
6. Results and Discussions
6.1. Language Competencies
“My mind is not so fast with English words (.), I experience that my mind is practicing and now I begin to save words.”(Darina)
“The course was very interesting (.) and we develop our way of communicating.”(Rihab)
Tjasa: Thank you everyone! It was a pleasure to meet you 😊
Kenza: It was amazing to talk with u all guys
Darina: It was funny to hear the voices
6.2. Digital Competencies
- 10/10 students accessed the platform, used Padlet, and participated in Zoom sessions at least two times.
- 10/10 students exchanged emails and produced documents.
- 9/10 students used Padlet, shared texts and images, and commented to others.
- 9/10 students participated actively by completing major activities on Moodle.
- 10/10 students participated in the WhatsApp group, asking questions or responding to others.
“I figured out how to use Zoom on my own, which is a nice experience.”(Andre)
“Tools like Padlet and Zoom have many benefits.”(Kenza)
6.3. Cultural and Intercultural Competencies
6.3.1. Differences between Small and Large Power Distance Societies
6.3.2. Differences between Weak and Strong Uncertainty Avoidance Societies
6.3.3. Differences between Collectivist and Individualist Societies
6.3.4. Differences between Feminine and Masculine Societies
6.3.5. Differences between Short- and Long-Term-Oriented Societies
6.3.6. Differences between Indulgent and Restrained Societies
7. Conclusions and Perspectives
- Some improvement in students’ oral and written English language skills.
- Students’ mastery of new digital tools for sharing, collaboration, and communicating.
- A clear awareness of the cultural parameters of the Hofstede model, starting from personal introspection to the perception of the clash of cultures with the projection of living in a culturally distant society.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|0: Welcome||Log on to the course and fill in profile information||Create a space of trust between learners|
Check any difficulties in accessing the course
|1: Know one’s cultural background||Share pictures and comments|
|Break the ice and create an atmosphere of trust|
Initiate students in cultural baggage
Use of new communication tool
|2: Cultural introspection||Lecture |
|Stimulate cultural differences based on introspection culture |
Find a partner to work with
Position one’s cultural behaviour
|3: Greet Hofstede cultural dimensions||Lecture|
|Summarise Hofstede cultural dimensions |
Formulate opinions from the cultural background
Email (and WhatsApp)
|4: Developing topics of interest revealed by learners||Lectures for each need|
|Discuss, by collaborating, one topic on the Hofstede cultural model||Forum|
|5: What is next?||Open discussion||Summary and preparation for getting a badge||Zoom|
|Moodle||Structure and course design |
Collaborate through forum
|Centralise and organise instructions, information, activities, and resources|
Track and assess students (for instructors)
|Padlet||Communicate to a group and establish storyboards||Share, express opinions, and post feedback|
Send and/or exchange reports
|Zoom||Videoconferencing tool||Communicate, exchange, debate, orient (participants by instructors or between participants themselves)|
|WhatsApp group||Instant messaging||Prepare collaboration, tutor, help desk|
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Machwate, S.; Bendaoud, R.; Henze, J.; Berrada, K.; Burgos, D. Virtual Exchange to Develop Cultural, Language, and Digital Competencies. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5926. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115926
Machwate S, Bendaoud R, Henze J, Berrada K, Burgos D. Virtual Exchange to Develop Cultural, Language, and Digital Competencies. Sustainability. 2021; 13(11):5926. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115926Chicago/Turabian Style
Machwate, Said, Rachid Bendaoud, Juergen Henze, Khalid Berrada, and Daniel Burgos. 2021. "Virtual Exchange to Develop Cultural, Language, and Digital Competencies" Sustainability 13, no. 11: 5926. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115926