May 2019 Workshop “How to facilitate intercultural programs with storytelling?”
Facilitating Open Space @ SIETAR Europa Conference in Leuven, Belgium
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May 2019, Pre-Congress Workshop on Learning Journey Design


Our common learning journey started at 8:00 o’clock in the morning and kicked off with lots of laughter and… sharing stories. Following the circle of the Hero’s Journey, we reflected upon the challenges and developmental changes the participants of our intercultural programs are facing. And so the single phases of the hero’s journey were applied to the learning context. It became transparent how to design a learning journey focusing on the needs and requirements of the learners and their specific context. Why? Because, knowing the “world of obviousness” of our learners results in better preparation and tuning with their needs and working on their goals. In order to offer them guidance from the known world to the unknown one – we need to focus on them. Analysis and Awareness are therefore crucial at this stage. Entering the unknown world which is filled with developing knowledge, skills and attitudes can be smoother for our learners only if we neither over- nor underestimate their own development and can figure out their motivation. The tricky part is preparing them for entering the unknown world and offering them guidance to return to the known world when they land again in their corporation, middle size company, a start-up , a university class – you name it. It is wonderful when they can transfer the knowledge and the skills required in the learning setting, and even more wonderful when they consciously reflect upon their attitude and are able to bring positive changes. 

Building upon the metaphor of the Hero’s Journey we focused on the design thinking aspects of creating intercultural workshops, coachings, trainings, and classes for students with Canvas and Learning Battle Cards. Given the variety of the group, all sorts of programs were relevant. We agreed to focus on the corporate context and apply the learning journey for the group of leaders leading multicultural, virtual teams. As the case study was offered by one of the participants, the exchange was very rich in content and ideas on how to design a program for this specific group with their challenges and chances on different levels:

  1. leadership across cultures
  2. intercultural communication 
  3. specifics of the digital working
  4. acceptance for various methods/interventions caused by different “learning mindsets” (participants from India, Bangladesh, China, Vietnam, Spain, and many European countries)

The complexity did not discourage the participants; just other way round- the motivation was the main driver to come up with a proposal for a learning journey design. That is the moment where I would like to thank once again all the participants who joined the pre-congress workshop I offered in Leuven. Your energy, curiosity and richness of ideas were my personal “elixir” Moreover, I would like to thank the co-creator of the Learning Battle Cards, Slawomir Las, who unfortunately could not come to Belgium to co-facilitate the pre-congress workshop with me. Our virtual preparatory sessions were really fruitful. 

For more information on the Learning Battle Cards and further inspirations how you can design complex learning processes in a playful way, check please

As there are no coincidences and the world is really small, I would like to attract your attention to a freshly released book by my colleague, Bastian Künzel “Learner’s Journey” who introduced it at the SIETAR Europa Conference in Leuven directly after the pre-congress workshop. For more information check

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