Intercultural Competence Based on Collective Learning in Association with Intangible Cultural Heritage: Experiences in a Study Abroad Program and a Digital Environment


  • Catalina Millán-Scheiding Berklee College of Music



intercultural competence, collective learning, intangible cultural heritage, study abroad, digital environment


This article describes the impact of a didactic proposal implemented in a visual arts course which intends to promote intercultural competences and work on identity awareness through collective learning activities, using the framework of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). Firstly, the term “collective learning” is defined in the context of humanities teaching as a multimodal and multi-source process of learning that contemplates the feedback between the individual the collective. Secondly, the framework of ICH is presented. Lastly, a quantitative comparative analysis of data from two different versions of the same course is performed: Group 1 in an in-person study abroad context and Group 2 in a remote environment. The examination of the results offers insight on a generalized effective acquisition of intercultural competences following the framework while highlighting the translation of study abroad elements of collective learning into the digital environment as a means to promote horizontal learning and self-assessment.

Abstract in Spanish

Este artículo describe los resultados de una propuesta didáctica implementada en un curso de artes visuales que pretende promocionar la competencia intercultural y trabajar la conciencia identitaria a través de actividades de aprendizaje colectivo y usando el marco teórico del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad de la UNESCO (ICH por sus siglas en inglés). Primero se describe el término “aprendizaje colectivo” en el contexto de la educación de humanidades como un proceso de aprendizaje multimodal que integra múltiples inputs y que contempla la retroalimentación entre lo individual y lo colectivo. Posteriormente, se presenta el marco teórico del ICH. Por último, se realiza un análisis comparativo de datos de dos versiones diferentes del mismo curso: el Grupo 1 siendo presencial en un contexto de estudio en el extranjero y el Grupo 2 siendo de aprendizaje a distancia. El estudio de los resultados indica una adquisición generalizada de competencias interculturales dentro del marco teórico, a la vez que enfatiza como la traslación de elementos de aprendizaje colectivo en estudios en el extranjero al ámbito digital puede funcionar como un elemento que promueva el aprendizaje horizontal y la autoevaluación.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Catalina Millán-Scheiding, Berklee College of Music

Catalina Millán-Scheiding is an associate professor at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department at Berklee College of Music Valencia Campus. Dr. Millán-Scheiding belongs to the Grupo de Investigación TALIS of the University of Valencia and is member of CI5-ODS, financed by the Generalitat Valenciana. She is also the secretary of the Journal of Literary Education and has published in numerous international journals. Her research focuses on literary education and translation as well as intercultural competences and SDGs.


American Psychological Association. (2017). Multicultural Guidelines: An Ecological Approach to Context, Identity, and Intersectionality. Retrieved from:

American Association of Colleges and Universities. (n.d.) VALUE Rubrics – Intercultural Knowledge and Competence.

Baker, D. (2016). Collective Learning: A Potential Unifying Theme of Human History. Journal of World History 26(1), 77-104. doi:10.1353/jwh.2016.0006.

Bennett, J.M. (2008). Transformative training: Designing programs for culture learning. In Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Understanding and utilizing cultural diversity to build successful organizations, ed. M. A. Moodian, 95-110. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Brown, A. L., & Campione, J. C. (1996). Psychological theory and the design of innovative learning environments: On procedures, principles, and systems. In L. Schauble & R. Glaser (Eds.), Innovations in learning: New environments for education (pp. 289–325). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Chapman, T. K., & Bhopal, K. (2019). The perils of integration: exploring the experiences of African American and black Caribbean students in predominately white secondary schools. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 42(7), 1110-1129

Costanzo, J. & Klekowski von Koppenfels, A. (2013). Counting the Uncountable: Overseas Americans. Migration Policy Institute, retrieved from

Cubillos, J., & Ilvento, T. (2018). Intercultural Contact in Short-term Study Abroad Programs. Hispania 101 (2), 249-266. doi:10.1353/hpn.2018.0117.

Dörnyei, Z. (2003). Questionnaires in second language research: Construction, administration, and processing. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kramer, S. (2021). 2020-2021 Berklee Factbook. Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, Berklee.

Falk, I & Harrison, L. (1998) Community learning and social capital: “just having a little chat.” Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 50:4, 609-627, doi: 10.1080/13636829800200063

Fenwick, T. (2008). Understanding Relations of Individual—Collective Learning in Work: A Review of Research. Management Learning, 39(3), 227–243. doi: 10.1177/1350507608090875

Ferreira-Lopes, L., Bezanilla, M. J. & Elexpuru, I. (2018). Integrating Intercultural Competence Development into the Curriculum through Telecollaboration. A Task Sequence Proposal for Higher Education. RED. Revista de Educación a Distancia, 58.

Fischer, K. W., & Bidell, T. R. (2006). Dynamic development of action, thought, and emotion. In W. Damon & R.M. Learner (Eds.), Theoretical models of human development, Handbook of child psychology (6th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 319–399). Wiley.

Fuentes, M. A., Zelaya, D. G., & Madsen, J. W. (2021). Rethinking the course syllabus: Considerations for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. Teaching of Psychology, 48(1), 69-79.

Darling-Hammond, L, Flook, L, Cook-Harvey, C, Barron, B & Osher, D. (2020) Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 24:2, 97-140. doi: 10.1080/10888691.2018.1537791

Gelmon, S.B., Holland, B. A. & Spring, Amy. (2018). Assessing Service-Learning and Civic Engagement: Principles and Techniques. Campus Compact.

Hafstein, V. (2018). Intangible Heritage as a Festival; or, Folklorization Revisited. The Journal of American Folklore, (131), 127-149.

Hayes, J., & Allinson, C. W. (1998). Cognitive Style and the Theory and Practice of Individual and Collective Learning in Organizations. Human Relations, 51(7), 847–871. doi: 10.1177/001872679805100701

Hubbard, A., & Rexeisen, R. (2020). Investing in Study Abroad and Cultural Engagement: A Win-Win for Career Development. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 32(3), 3-21 doi: 10.36366/frontiers.v32i3.577

Jones, E. (2013). Internationalization and employability: the role of intercultural experiences in the development of transferable skills. Public Money & Management, 33(2), 95–104.

Kilgore, D.W. (1999) Understanding learning in social movements: a theory of collective learning, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 18(3), 191-202, doi: 10.1080/026013799293784

Lerner, R. M., & Callina, K. S. (2013). Relational developmental systems theories and the ecological validity of experimental designs: Commentary on Freund and Isaacowitz. Human Development, 56(6), 372-380. doi:10.1159/000357179

Liaw, M.-L. (2006). E-learning and the Development of Intercultural Competence. Language Learning & Technology, 10(3), 49–64.

Magos, K. (2018). "The Neighbor's Folktales": Developing Intercultural Competence through Folktales and Stories. Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature, 56(2), 28-34. doi:10.1353/bkb.2018.0023.

Mazyck, J. E. (2014). Experts address the lack of minority participation in study abroad programs. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 31(9), 7.

McLellan, M. L. (1998). Case Studies in Oral History and Community Learning. The Oral History Review, 25(1/2), 81–112.

Norris, E.M. and Dwyer, M. (2005) Testing Assumptions: The Impact of Two Study Abroad Program Models. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study abroad, 11(1), 121-142.

Novinger, T. (2001). Intercultural Communication: A Practical Guide. University of Texas Press.

O’Dowd, R. (2007). Evaluating the outcomes of online intercultural exchange. ELT Journal, 61(2), 144–152.

Packham, C. (2008). Active citizenship and community learning. Learning Matters, Ltd.

Picard, D. & Robinson, M. (2006). Festivals, Tourism, and Social Change: Remaking Worlds. Channel View publications.

Pritchard, R. (1990). The Effects of Cultural Schemata on Reading Processing Strategies. Reading Research Quarterly, 25(4), 273-295.

Schenker, T. (2012). Intercultural Competence and Cultural Learning through Telecollaboration. CALICO Journal, 29(3), 449–470.

Singh, N. & Suri, G. K. (2021). Rethinking socialization for students during COVID-19: Techniques and strategies. International Journal of Education and Management Studies, 11(2), 85-89.

United States Department of State. (n.d.). Study Abroad Data.

Sumara, D.J. & Davis, B. (1997) Enactivist theory and community

learning: toward a complexified understanding of action research. Educational Action Research, (5)3, 403-422, doi: 10.1080/09650799700200037

Tanaka, G.K. (2002). Higher Education's Self-Reflexive Turn: Toward an Intercultural Theory of Student Development. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(2), 263-296. doi:10.1353/jhe.2002.0024.

Tavares, V. (2021). Feeling excluded: international students experience equity, diversity and inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1-18.

NAFSA. (n.d.). Trends in US Study Abroad.

Vandenabeele, B. (2004). "New" Media, Art, and Intercultural Communication. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 38(4), 1-9. doi:10.1353/jae.2004.0043.

Wang, P., & Ramiller, N. C. (2009). Community Learning in Information Technology Innovation. MIS Quarterly, 33(4), 709–734. doi: 10.2307/20650324

Intangible Cultural Heritage - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (n.d.). What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

Zapata-Ros, M. (2014). Hacia una nueva interculturalidad (educativa). RED. Revista de Educación a Distancia, 41.




How to Cite

Millán-Scheiding, C. (2022). Intercultural Competence Based on Collective Learning in Association with Intangible Cultural Heritage: Experiences in a Study Abroad Program and a Digital Environment. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(4), 91–114.



Research Articles