At the core of the Life Cycle Model there is the process of active learning. We believe that participants in an intercultural collaboration must pay attention to the process of learning throughout the project: it is not just a matter for reflection and evaluation once the project is complete. Indeed, proper attention to learning will enhance the likelihood that participants will develop appropriate intercultural competencies, function effectively as a team and work productively with partner organisations. It is also more likely that individual team members will find their experience of the collaboration enjoyable and valuable on a personal and a professional level.
Research has shown that the use of techniques that reinforce learners’ abilities to reflect on their own experiences will generate positive outcomes in terms of both the effectiveness of behaviour and the satisfaction, or engagement, of the learner. Of course, there are variations between individuals in their approach to learning (and these may themselves be culturally determined) but a positive attitude to supporting learning should improve the effectiveness of an intercultural collaboration. The approach that we recommend here centres on the conscious decision to build learning activities into the project life cycle in the same way that one would plan key meetings, deadlines for outputs or technology requirements. Many of the competencies that underpin the Life Cycle Model express this concern for openness, awareness, flexibility and an ability to respond sensitively to the complex experience of intercultural collaboration. To hear Stuart talk about the learning process model watch the video clip below.
Listen to Stuart talk about the importance of learning in intercultural partnerships