Activity 2 Intended International Learning Outcomes (IILOs)

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Activity 2 is a scenario-based activity.

The purpose of this activity is to enable participants to support educational developers (EDs) with the formulation, mapping and embedding of Intended International Learning Outcomes (IILOs) in different courses or programmes of studies.

The activity uses an active learning approach, utilising group work and reflection to equip the participants with an understanding of challenges, strategies and resources to internationalise intended learning outcomes.

The activity draws upon the case of the lecturer that the participants have brought with them (preparatory task). Participants were asked to bring along to this module guiding documents that the lecturer they interviewed would turn to for inspiration when internationalising the programme (the university vision on internationalisation, the programme vision on what competences students should possess when graduating, etc).

This activity contributes to the achievement of the learning outcomes of this module: (i) LO1: To critically reflect upon and appraise the role of IILOs for graduate attributes within disciplines, institutional and other relevant contexts, and (ii) LO2: Support the formulation, mapping and embedding of IILOs in different programmes of studies.


Please refer to slides 15-31 of the PowerPoint presentation of this module.

The activity is divided into 3 parts: (a), (b), and (c).

(a) Formulating and Mapping of Graduate Attributes and Intended International Learning Outcomes

Time: 45 minutes

Ordinarily, the initial step of designing programmes of study or courses is to formulate the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs). Once ILOs are agreed, teaching and learning activities, and assessment tasks can be designed with a view of maintaining constructive alignment. However, when internationalising a curriculum the ILOs, teaching and learning activities, and assessment tasks often already exist. Therefore, in order to internationalise a course or a programme, some of these ILOs will need to be adjusted to become Intended International Learning Outcomes (IILOs), and any implicit international aspects of learning activities need to be made explicit. The first challenge is to appropriately capture the desired intercultural and global competences and to translate and map these into IILOs.

  • The process of internationalising a course or a programme involves careful reviewing of the ILOs, the teaching and learning activities and assessment tasks.

Ask the participants about their experience with the process of internationalising a programme. If none of the participants have experience, emphasise the dynamic process of aligning the components in an international programme, by referring back to the key concepts in the framework in activity 1 before commencing the task. If participants have ample experience, summarise their input by referring back to the key concepts in the framework in activity 1.

  • Explain that activity 2 focuses on the ILOs and how to internationalise them. Ask the participants about their experiences and possible challenges with internationalising ILOs (slide 19).
  • Link the process of internationalising ILOs to graduate attributes (slide 18 – 21). Examples of graduate attributes can be found in the Thematic Text: Internationalising Course Design. Start a discussion with the large group of participants about how the graduate attributes are linked to the different elements of intercultural competence (e.g. knowledge, attitudes, communication, skills, awareness, etc.). If necessary, refer back to the EQUiiP Thematic Introduction Enhancing Intercultural Learning in the Curriculum . The definition of intercultural competence, as mentioned in the thematic text, is included in the powerpoint (slide 21).
  • Put participants in small groups (at least 3 participants per group is advised). Ask participants to share with each other the guiding document(s) to which the lecturer they interviewed would turn for inspiration when internationalising the programme.

N.B. If participants are taking this as a stand-alone module, they should bring examples of guiding documents from programmes that are relevant to their own work.

Ask participants to discuss whether the guiding document(s) included some clear statements that signpost graduate attributes (potential IILOs). Let participants discuss for 10 minutes.

  • Ask each small group to report to the large group whether they discovered some clear statements signposting potential IILOs in the document(s) and whether these statements are similar to each other or not.
  • Guide the discussion by asking questions like “is the link between the graduate attributes and intercultural competence explicit?”; “do the graduate attributes encompass more than what we understand by intercultural competence?”; “what about assessing the graduate attributes and intercultural competence – are these measurable e.g. awareness of ?”
  • After the discussion in the large group, the participants will continue working in their smaller groups. Ask the participants to choose one of the study programmes they brought with them. Instruct the participants to identify the context of the programme (e.g. full-time, part-time, distance-learning, work-based learning, undergraduate or graduate, etc.). This part of the activity should not take longer than 5 minutes.
  • Ask the participants to identify one or two graduate attributes for their chosen programme. If the guiding documents (provided by the lecturer they interviewed) did not include any graduate attributes, instruct the participants to choose an appropriate attribute from the examples in the thematic text or to create one themselves.
  • Instruct the participants to note the programme context and course as well as the graduate attributes at the top of the flipchart sheet.
  • Discuss in the large group whether participants have an idea of hands-on tips for creating IILOs. Refer to slides 26 and 28. If necessary (depending on the level of experience in the group), refer to the guidelines mentioned in the thematic text (e.g. the action verbs and the SARA principles of the EU).
  • In the smaller groups, ask the participants to formulate multiple IILOs to support the programme of their choice and map these against the earlier identified graduate attributes.
  • Suggest to the participants that IILOs could be sequential, a-/synchronous in different courses, different levels/stages in the programme, etc. Meaning, the IILOs should be strategically planned and scaffolded within a programme. The IILOs should start with the phrase: ‘After successful completion of the programme, students will be able to:’.
  • The formulated IILOs should be documented on the sticky notes provided and arranged on the flipchart sheet reflecting any intended sequential, a-/synchronous or different levels of studies with corresponding comments.
  • If participants have difficulties understanding the above instructions, we suggest distributing the worksheet with an example of a fictional undergraduate curriculum Activity 2 Worksheet Example Mapped IILOs.
  • On conclusion of the task, display each group’s finished mapped/ embedded IILOs for the subsequent parts of activity 2.

Additional tips for the facilitator

  • Powerpoint slide 28 provides practical tips on how to transform ILOs into IILOs. Emphasize that a local exercise might be an intercultural experience for an international student (and vice versa)! For example, for a student from Paris, who is on an exchange at the University of Edinburgh, studying the demographics of a rural region in the north of Scotland might be an intercultural experience although the exercise took place in a local setting.
  • To create a coherent story throughout the module, refer back to activity 1. When ILOs are strategically embedded in a programme, fewer emergent learning outcomes might come up during a course since the assumed prior knowledge of the students is more likely to match the lecturer’s expectations. However, when courses in a programme are less well aligned, emergent learning outcomes – for instance, those linked to intercultural competence – might arise more often.
  • In our experience, it is very important to scaffold the activity as described in the procedure. Participants might struggle a bit in the beginning when trying to link IILOs to graduate attributes. This struggle is part of the process. As a facilitator, encourage participants to quickly choose a programme and a graduate attribute and to build from there.
  • Only require one programme to be chosen per small group for a number of reasons: this removes uncertainty of how well researched the guiding documents are and lets the group choose the best presented example; it creates diversity in the group in terms of knowledge of the programme; it moves people somewhat out of their comfort zone/routine.
  • Creating diversity in groups (in terms of knowledge; expertise; and confidence in subject area; and type of programme etc.) at the outset of the module is beneficial as their individual experiences in formulating IILOs will contribute a richness to the quality a group’s reflection on some of the challenges and how to support peers. It will help the groups to: (i) create a set of IILOs that all group members understand (on sticky notes), (ii) create maps of IILOs towards graduate attributes (identified on top of the flipchart), and (iii) embed IILOs into a programme of study (with clear annotations regarding the rationale for development relevant to the programme of study).

Resources Needed

  1. Activity 2 Worksheet Example Mapped IILOs
  2. Guiding documents or participant’s own lecturer case study
  3. sticky notes
  4. pens & markers
  5. flipchart paper & blu tack/ pins to display flipchart on wall,

(b) Reflection on “challenges” and “what helped”

Time: 25 Minutes

  • Ask each group to reflect on their experiences of part (a) by considering the following question: What elements of part (a) of the activity might they apply when supporting others in designing internationalised curricula? The following prompt questions can help the participants in reflecting on the main question: What did they find challenging? What did they find easy? How confident were they that their IILOs met the SARA criteria? How did they reach a consensus? What support did they give each other to achieve this task? What support helped them to contribute?
  • Ask each group to share one challenge and one support aspect with the large group.
  • As a facilitator, visually record the groups’ input on a flipchart or whiteboard.

Additional tips for the facilitator

  • Reflection on the previous part should yield some concrete examples of challenges (e.g. it might be difficult to strategically embed the IILOs without in-depth knowledge of all the courses in a programme) and subsequently generate ideas for helpful support methods (e.g. the experience of others in the group might help with constructing IILOs).
  • At the end, recognize that based on the group’s diversity different challenges arose and thus different support was given. Hence, a diverse group of EDs requires differentiated support strategies – see also part (c).

Resources Needed

  1. Flipchart paper
  2. Markers

(c) Understanding how to help other EDs in the formulation and mapping of IILOs

Time:20 – 30 minutes

  • Assign each group one “new colleague” character from the worksheet Activity 2 Worksheet New Colleagues’ Characters.
  • Explain to the group that this new colleague is joining their team and that he/she is new to formulating IILOs (he/she did not experience the first parts of activity 2). However, this new colleague needs to be brought up to speed as quickly as possible.
  • Ask each small group to use their experiences from part (a) and their reflections from part (b) to support their new colleague. Ask them to consider what support their new colleague needs as well as what support each of them could offer.
  • Ask groups to identify who would be needed to give this support and who it would support (this might show that the support needs of EDs might vary).
  • Encourage participants in the small groups to record their ideas on a piece of paper so they can share it with the entire group.
  • Working with the large group, ask a representative from each small group to summarise the ideas of the group. This should result in a set of differentiated strategies on how to address the challenges of the different new colleagues.

Additional tips for the facilitator

  • Emphasize that the task extends personal reflection to a wider group of educational developers. If this activity is part of the full EQUiiP programme, this part of activity 2 can be explored further in the Feedback and Reflective Processes module by broadening the reflection to participants’ own context.
  • More than one, but no more than two characters could be allocated to each group depending on how quickly the groups and/or cohort are progressing through the module. Note that a different number of characters may work better in different settings. As a facilitator, you need to make an informed choice on the distribution of the characters depending for instance on the level of experience of the participants. Depending on participants’ backgrounds, some characters might be easier to identify with than others.

Resources Needed

Activity 2 Worksheet New Colleagues’ Characters

(d) Debriefing in the large group

Time: 10-20 minutes

  • Ask each group to share with the large group what they believe they have learned from Activity 2. Have they achieved the learning outcomes of the activity: (i) LO1: To critically reflect upon and appraise the role of IILOs for graduate attributes within disciplines, institutional and other relevant contexts, and (ii) LO2: To support the formulation, mapping and embedding of IILOs in different programmes of studies?
  • Summarise the salient learning points from the discussion using examples generated by the groups in their outputs.
  • Review how these have been achieved by referring back to the steps taken in parts (a), (b) and (c). Participants should now have: (i) a broader and critical awareness of study programmes and graduate attributes and challenges in internationalising programmes, (ii) explored challenges in identifying intercultural competences and formulating IILOs for a specific study programme, (iii) mapped and embedded IILOs within a programme, and (iv) reflected on the development needs of a variety of EDs and started thinking about the support strategies which they will explore in more detail in activity 3.


Approximately 2 hours (please see the specific time needed for each part of the activity explained in the procedure above).

Room / space needed

Room needs to allow for workstations with wall space or movable divider walls.

Participant number

Min 2 Groups of 3; Max 5 Groups of 5

Possible variations

If you are pressed for time, part (b) could be done in the large group immediately without starting off in the smaller groups first.

If you are running this module in a familiar context (e.g. in your own institution), you could think about creating “new colleague” characters that fit your context.