Evaluating intercultural learning

Developing key skills through the international Dukenet Markstrat programme

Kniel, Sarah

kassel university press, ISBN: 978-3-89958-690-9, 2009, 344 Pages
(Kasseler Management-Forum 1)

URN: urn:nbn:de:0002-6911

Zugl.: Kassel, Univ., Diss. 2008

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Content: The thesis evaluates an innovative educational programme ‘Dukenet Markstrat’ for economic and business students from several European countries.

This one week international course teaches marketing as well as key qualifications for global business by means of a computer based simulation in multinational student groups. Although -as detailed in the study- recent reforms in higher education and skill training for employment in a globalized economy, all stress inter cultural learning and acquiring key qualifications, only a small number of students actually seize the opportunity to go abroad during their studies.

An analysis, based on the contact hypothesis and action theory, of Dukenet Markstrat shows that this setting contains a number of elements which reduce barriers to go abroad and help students to acquire key qualifications.

In an empirical study, carried out in a period of three years, Dukenet Markstrat was studied with the help of qualitative and quantitative data gathered from students and lecturers of the participating seven European institutions of higher education.

Self evaluations of competencies of students and their motivation to study and work abroad from three consecutive Dukenet Markstrat seminars were compared at the beginning and the end of the course as well as ratings of their skill acquisition by the lecturers representing the different institutions of higher education. In order to determine whether the observed skill improvement depended more on differing motivation and backgrounds of Dukenet Markstrat students, as compared to other economic and business students attending ’conventional’ university courses, an additional study was undertaken. Qualitative interviews explored the perceptions of a small group of students that had attended Dukenet Markstrat as well as a comparable ‘conventional’ university course. Finally, in order to study long term effects of participating in the Dukenet Markstrat programme, former students from these seven European universities were contacted and their present employment characteristics compared to that of a comparison group from the same universities.

The results of three different sub studies show clearly that Dukenet Markstrat leads to improvement in key qualifications- especially inter-cultural competence- and that students profit from the course no matter what their background or initial skill level was. Participants who presently opt for this course differ from other economics students in their motivation to choose international courses, and obstacles to attend Dukenet Markstrat seem more due to external conditions (time frame, lack of financial support), so that if these barriers were removed more students could profit from this type of course.

The impact of Dukenet Markstrat even many years after graduation, though slight, reflects the interests of former participants in their current employment.

Dukenet Markstrat can therefore serve as a course element in university studies of economics to lower the threshold to study and work abroad and reduce anxieties for international encounters as well as acquire necessary qualifications in a globalised world economy.

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