Informal intercultural and professional learning in higher education cooperation : experiences of northern academic experts from HEI ICI -projects in Eritrea
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Professional learning is not only about intentional activities, but knowledge, expertise and skills are gained through informal learning. Informal intercultural learning is often incidental and implicit, occurring as a by-product of another activity and without the learner being aware of what has been learned. This thesis examines informal intercultural learning as a part of professional learning in international higher education cooperation, specifically the HEI ICI programme (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument). The data were collected through semi-structured interviews to capture the voices of northern academic experts who participated in this research. The research aims to describe informal learning situations and identify experienced informal learning. The results show that learning occurring in international higher education cooperation happen both in professional and in everyday encounters. Skills are developed through incidental and implicit learning and they form a repertoire of professional knowledge and expertise essential for working in intercultural contexts. Cultural knowledge, collaboration, and mutual trust are significant on the path towards equal and true partnership. The findings from this study provide insight to the informal learning experiences of northern academic experts in the context of international higher education cooperation and thus contribute to the development of the HEI ICI instrument. ...
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