Facilitating Intercultural Communication Skills Development through Virtual Exchange

Emma H Zhang, Sam S S Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstractpeer-review


Current literature on international virtual exchange (IVE) tends to highlight the benefits of IVE experience and lack a nuanced examination of the various internal and external factors impacting student experience. This report challenges the assumption that students in the same IVE program experience similar levels of growth, and highlights the necessity of providing guidance, tools, and different modes of communication to maximize the positive impact of IVE on learners of differing linguistic abilities and backgrounds. This presentation reports research findings on the correlation between students’ language ability and improvement in intercultural effectiveness skills and student confidence in an international virtual exchange (IVE) project. In the 2020-2021 academic year, 130 students from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), 40 students from Northwest University in Xi’an, China, and 160 students from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, participated in an eight-week long IVE project as partial fulfillment of the requirements of their for-credit courses. Findings indicate that although all students participated in the same IVE project, they did not achieve the same level of benefits. The Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) results indicate Hong Kong students with multi-linguistic abilities experienced the most growth, showing significant improvement in three of the nine areas of the IES, as well as significant overall growth. However, no significant improvement on the IES was observed from Chinese or American students. Results of this study suggest that students’ linguistic abilities should be considered in the design of an IVE program. This presentation concludes with ways to include a variety of modes of communication to foster inclusiveness and allow students from all linguistic backgrounds to benefit from IVE. Asynchronous, computer mediated textual, and/or audio/visual communications can be more effective compared to synchronous, audio/visual communications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022
Event17th eLearning Forum Asia, eLFA 2022 - Manila, Philippines
Duration: 1 Dec 20222 Dec 2022
https://www.elfasia.org/2022/ (Link to official site)
https://www.elfasia.org/2022/parallel-session-schedule/ (Link to conference programme)


Forum17th eLearning Forum Asia, eLFA 2022
Internet address

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • E-learning
  • Virtual Exchange
  • CMC


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