Virtual Collaboration Challenge – Acquiring important skills through virtual exchange

Virtual formats are without question an interesting way to think about exchange. Because they too make intercultural dialogue possible and foster a good number of skills that are relevant to the future world of work.

The Virtual Collaboration Challenge was launched in spring 2019 as part of the international pilot project. Apprentices, students and graduates of Higher Vocational Training experienced virtual collaboration in teams from around the world (Switzerland, India, Australia and Poland) in this project organised and implemented by Birkenvale. For five weeks, the participants worked together on a real-world project for a company or NGO and presented their results to a panel of experts.

Daniel (20), Switzerland

More students should be given this opportunity.

Key project data

  • 40 students,12 schools and 4 time zones
  • 7 nationalities and cultural diversity
  • 6 teams, mentored by coach
  • 5 weeks and 5 tasks
  • 6 creative solutions
  • Pitch to expert panel

P., VET teacher

Let’s discuss how we can incorporate this into our curriculum.

Possible project tasks

Virtual collaboration enables participants to work on a wide range of tasks and can be oriented towards individual interests. This makes the project accessible to many sectors beyond IT.

  • Create ideas on how schools can support international collaboration among students
  • Set ideas to increase environmental awareness in school
  • Define a marketing initiative for sustainable tourism in one of the student’s home areas
  • Create product ideas and market strategy for SME company
  • Set up a concept for better integration of minorities in a specific region
  • Create social media strategy for a local start-up

Kenrick (25), Australia

A rich experience. Would definitely do it again.

93% of participants from various occupational fields would recommend the project to friends, because the Virtual Collaboration Challenge encourages the development of various skills, the survey found. Besides the use of digital tools, it also boosts creative thinking and virtual collaboration. The tasks and the pitch at the end of the project are designed to train leadership skills and give participants experience in project management. An added bonus is the conversation and presentation in English.

Kavya (21), India

The first programme ever that has given me real cross-cultural team experience.