EDUC 593 - Experiential Learning Design for Intercultural Communication

   Offered in the spring semester                                                   

Details for spring '16 course

Experiential Learning Design for Intercultural Communication provides new and experienced educators the opportunity to learn and practice training design and facilitation using the principles of experiential and adult learning.  This course serves to develop self-reflective practitioners who are well-versed in intercultural communication theory and experiential learning design, and provides a practical, skill-based course to balance the theory-based curriculum of the Intercultural Communication M.S.Ed (ICC).

Spring 2016 courses will meet on Tuesday from 4:30-7:30PM (Section001) and Thursday from 4-7PM (Section002)

*** This is a core course for the ICC MSEd. Graduate students from all twelve schools are welcome to apply.

ELD was born out of the partnership and collaboration between the Greenfield Intercultural Center and the Graduate School of Education. The course aims to provide educators with practical tools to put into practice a variety of intercultural communication theories and frameworks. ELD is part of the ICC core curriculum, but is open to graduate students and staff at Penn by application.

Democractic Classroom Environment:
We strive to create an environment where students are engaged and active participants in a democratic learning process. Within the ELD context, democratic education means that students are peer educators - creating knowledge with the instructors rather than acting as containers waiting to be filled by expert knowledge (Freire). It also means that a supportive environment for cross cultural dialogue dismantles and exposes the hierarchy both within the structure of the classroom itself and between course participants.

Elements of democratic education:

  • Courses are facilitated by co-instructors to model cooperative learning facilitation.
  • Shared decision-making and responsibility among the students and instructors.
  • A learner-centered approach; everyone can learn from anyone.
  • Equality among instructors and students.
  • The community as an extension of the classroom.

Course Overview:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Conduct a needs assessment for the communities they are serving.
  • Discuss concepts of training, experiential learning and adult learning and articulate how cultural or social contexts affect understanding of these concepts.
  • Develop training goals, purposes, and objectives.
  • Design a workshop and facilitate group processes.
  • Evaluate the training, and provide documentation for the process.
  • Give and receive effective and appropriate feedback.
  • Adopt reflective and self-reflective practices, including an understanding of their own learning styles and those of others, and be able to adjust activities to cater to all learning styles.
  • Understand the ethical considerations involved in training.
  • Serve as a resource for facilitations and trainings on Penn's campus.

Course Approach:

Course methodology will include a mixture of training techniques designed to inform, demonstrate and enhance participant learning. The instructor will use both experiential and didactic methods with an increasingly progressive emphasis on student involvement. The first half of the semester will be facilitated, to a large degree, by the instructors and will focus on assisting students in acquiring a foundation of knowledge and skills in the affective, cognitive and behavioral domains. Participants will spend the initial weeks acquiring skills and knowledge, assessing their own values, and developing confidence in their risk-taking abilities. For planning purposes please note that reading requirements will be heavier the first half of the semester.

The second half of the semester will be an opportunity for learners to actively apply the skills learned. Risk-taking, in terms of actual "hands on" involvement, will increase as the semester progresses. Learners will have an opportunity to demonstrate and apply their training skills within a structured classroom setting. Learners will be required to do "stand up training" and "facilitation" work in pairs and triads during various parts of the semester. Student trainers will be filmed while facilitating 1 1/2- hour team trainings and later will have an opportunity to review their tape with a course instructor. The purpose of this practice is to improve their feedback and critiquing skills while at the same time receiving feedback critical to the further refinement of their own training and facilitation skills. Reading and individual design work will also be required. Continuous self-assessment, as well as peer-assessment, will be an integral part of the class.


  • Learn to co-facilitate.
  • Learn workshop design and facilitation.
  • Improve public speaking skills.
  • Learn to design, deliver and facilitate a workshop based on the needs of your participants.
  • Develop a close working relationship with a community of learners.


Sarvelia Peralta-Duran        ELD Instructor
Sarah Peyton                    ELD Instructor

Course Offerings:

Students must apply for entry into the course. Master's students from across Penn and GSE General Admission Students are eligible.