Sign up

Facilitating learning in intercultural groups


Facilitating learning in intercultural groups



Learning in intercultural groups involves a process of understanding, deconstructing and reconstructing our identities. For this reason, they can be emotionally challenging for both participants and facilitators. They require flexibility and an ability to deal with complex emotions, particularly group dynamics. Facilitators should be able to reflect on their identity, engage with diversity, and consider sensitive issues related to participants' social and political contexts. (adapted from T-kit on Intercultural Learning, Chapter 3, Facilitation and design of intercultural learning processes)

Watch the following cartoons thinking about interactions in intercultural groups:
  • What aspect of intercultural interactions do you sense in videos?
  • How do videos relate to learning in intercultural groups?

To avoid superficial learning processes, some key aspects can support facilitators in creating meaningful intercultural learning processes that lead to social change. The following considerations come from the T-kit on Intercultural Learning. For more details, please download the complete Chapter 3, Facilitation and design of intercultural learning processes).

  • While reading through the points below, think about how much you consider and address them when facilitating learning in intercultural groups.

Good intentions are not enough.
To develop meaningful intercultural processes, the learning processes must not enforce stereotypes, prejudices, or cultural hierarchy and must not preserve social injustices or reconstruct these aspects in the training environment.

Consider the micro and macro contexts.
Intercultural learning should not focus exclusively on individual aspects. The approaches should be embedded in the local and international socio-political context, considering the social reality and history and the influence of the context on the way participants behave, react and interact in learning situations and real life.

The self–others–society triangle.
When the concepts and activities proposed are meaningful to the learners involved, intercultural learning offers a framework to understand the self–other–society relations and facilitates reflection on how learning can help us reframe the realities and better respond to them.

The commitment to foster social change.
Committing to foster social change is one of the most powerful outcomes of intercultural learning. It implies that the learner understands the situation in its complexity, can empathise with people from other cultural groups, has respect for human rights and is willing to take action and influence policies and structural changes in their reality.

Ongoing process.
Intercultural learning is never fully accomplished; it is an ongoing, lifelong process. In learning, learners reshape their world view based on new knowledge, skills and attitudes they acquire. Their perception of reality changes based on new learning, but reality also changes; new variables come into play, and complex situations must be faced.

Heuristic process.
Heuristic learning is a process that enables people to learn something for themselves in a practical way. Facilitators do not tell participants what they should do, feel, behave, like, etc., but create opportunities for analysis and reflection, reframing the realities, responding to them, and developing tools for action.

Walk the talk
Facilitators of intercultural learning processes are responsible for behaving in a way that reflects the competences they wish their participants to develop.

Experiential learning
Experiential learning is based on the assumption that learning needs to start from the relationship of the participant to the topic from the concrete experience of the person. Through sharing observations and reflections, the participants achieve ownership of what they have learned. Learning from experience is increased when people deliberately reflect on it. For this reason, the debriefing process is crucial in experiential learning. Generalisation and development of abstract concepts that can be applied in real-world situations lead to the transfer of learning. When knowledge, skills and attitudes are transferred to new situations, they are reinforced and form the basis of a new learning cycle.

Factors supporting learning in an intercultural setting

Below, we share the results of the qualitative research, which involved international learning mobility (e.g. youth exchanges, international volunteering, training courses), organisers and participants. Participants shared their experiences in the interviews, explaining what fostered their learning. Here are the key aspects to plan and implement when facilitating learning in intercultural groups:
  • Fostering strong personal interest of learners
  • Developing knowledge of learning mechanisms - how learning happens and how I/we learn
  • Creating an authentic, natural experience for a (intercultural) learning
  • "Pushing" for intercultural challenge
  • Creating a safe space for reflection
  • Developing quality of intercultural group communication
  • Experiencing the joy of togetherness in a group of different people
Download the complete report to get some ideas and inspiration.

This activity supports trainers’ professional development in the "Intercultural competence" area. Activity content and badge issuing criteria aligned with the European Training Strategy (ETS) competence model for trainers to work internationally.
Competence: Reflecting acceptance of ambiguity and change. In particular:
  • Refers to theories, concepts and experiences that relate to ambiguity and change in the activity and when designing the educational approach.
  • Uses appropriate tools and methods to support learners in deconstructing and reconstructing reality (tackling stereotypes, prejudices, assumptions, fake news, misinformation, etc.).
  • Dares to face and deal adequately with ambiguity with regard to the group’s and individuals’ realities.

Want to endorse (?) our organisation, this activity and/or badge - email us! Contact us at for further questions.


Get activity badge

Facilitating learning in intercultural groups Get this badge

The badge earner got familiar with essential aspects of intercultural learning and what supports learning in intercultural groups.

To get this badge, trainer:
  • Watched cartoons and reflected on intercultural aspects of learning.
  • Familiarised with intercultural learning specifics and related to their experiences.
  • Shared examples of how they support learning in intercultural settings

Activity content and badge issuing criteria aligned with the European Training Strategy (ETS) competence model for trainers to work internationally.

Learning duration: 2 hours
Task no.1
Evidence verified by: one activity organiser
To get this badge:
  1. Get familiar with the intercultural learning aspects. Share your reflections on what is so specific about learning in intercultural groups.
  2. Share 2-3 examples of how you, as a facilitator (can) support learning in intercultural groups.


#Адлюстраванне прыняцця неадназначнасці і змяненняў
#Звяртаецца да тэорый, канцэпцый і досведу, звязаных з неадназначнасцю і зменамі ў дзейнасці і пры распрацоўцы адукацыйнага падыходу
#Выкарыстоўвае адпаведныя інструменты і метады для падтрымкі навучэн_ак у дэканструкцыі і рэканструкцыі рэальнасці (барацьба са стэрэатыпамі, забабонамі, здагадкамі, фальшывымі навінамі, дэзінфармацыяй і г.д.)
#Адважваецца сутыкнуцца і адэкватна змагацца з неадназначнасцю адносна рэчаіснасці групы і асобных людзей
Intercultural competence
Added to playlist (0)
Time to complete: 2 hours


Badgecraft hosts this platform and develops it together with leading educational organisations. The European Union's programme Erasmus+ granted co-funding for building the first version of this platform. Contact
Change to another language:
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union