Evaluation Activities

Evaluating Learning in the CIL Pre-departure Courses

Every year, Canadian government departments and organizations prepare and send thousands of Canadians abroad to work in a wide range of capacities. In this context, it becomes critical for all involved that an appreciation and respect for the many subtle but important differences between cultures be an integral component of such exchanges.

Through the Centre for Intercultural Learning (CIL), the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade provides a variety of Pre-departure in Intercultural Effectiveness Courses to assist Canadians in acquiring the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to perform effectively while on overseas assignment, and to make the experience a positive and rewarding one for all concerned. These courses are tailored to the specific needs of different client groups, and typically last from between one to five days. Most courses are facilitated by an instructor in a group setting, while others also involve an individual, self-administered online learning component in addition to the training provided in the facilitated, group learning environment. Course content is based on the latest theory and research in the field, as well as components designed to address the specific learning needs of the particular client group.

The Centre is internationally renowned for both its work in intercultural effectiveness training, as well as its significant contributions to ongoing research and theory development in the field. The research reported here builds on the earlier work of CIL researchers (e.g. Vulpe et al, 2001) 1 and represents a systematic evaluation of Participant learning in its three and five day Pre-departure in Intercultural Effectiveness programs. This report also describes the overall evaluation approach applied by the Centre, and highlights the initial findings of the evaluation research conducted over a period of two years.

Evaluating Learning in the CIL Pre-departure Courses
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Evaluating Transfer of Learning from the Centre for Intercultural Learning's Pre-Departure Training to the Field

The Centre for Intercultural Learning (CIL) has been preparing Canadians for international assignments since 1969. The Centre is part of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), and more specifically within the internationally acclaimed Canadian Foreign Service Institute (CFSI). The Centre's mandate is to support organizations and individuals involved in international activities to develop the intercultural competencies essential for international success.

The Centre provides a range of intercultural effectiveness (IE), pre-departure and reintegration courses, intercultural facilitation as well as on-line learning and information services to approximately 7000 participants annually from DFAIT, CIDA, DND, and other government departments, NGOs, private sector organizations and academic institutions. An internationally recognized leader in research, design and evaluation of learning programs for international assignments, the Centre is regularly invited to present its findings in the academic, diplomatic, international development and international business sectors.

Since 2003 the Centre has been engaged in an ongoing, systematic evaluation of its pre-departure training programs.

Evaluating Transfer of Learning from the Centre for Intercultural Learning's Pre-Departure Training to the Field
PDF version PDF - Portable Document Format