News Feb 17th 2017

The Future of Outward Higher Education Internationalization

There is a general belief that outward internationalization can take form in three different ways depending on how individual universities choose to view the process of knowledge dissemination and origination around the globe. However, the process can also be looked at through three different alternative views, and these are the knowledge transfer view, the experiential view and the learning view. To make the entire concept more palatable, here is a brief breakdown of each of these three alternative views.

Knowledge Transfer View

According to the knowledge transfer view, the speed and general level of change in technological and economic developments differs greatly across countries, with the main theme being that developing nations are permanently trying to catch up with the developed world as it advances in all areas of technology, doing so in a trickle ‘down' style.

The knowledge, in this case, always originates from institutions that are located in already developed countries, often centers of higher learning like universities. It is then up to the students from these places to transfer the knowledge to those elsewhere.

In an attempt to bridge this gap, the theory calls for the opening of branches and campuses abroad in said developing countries, where important work can be done and discoveries made that do not have to suffer from such a trickledown effect. The one drawback of this idea is that, ultimately, the activities of these extra branches are always going to be based on provisions set by the heads on the home campus.

Experiential View

According to the experiential view, economic and technological development varies between countries because of cultural and societal differences rather than differences in the wealth and the speed at which countries develop.

In this case, it can be looked at in the example of countries with equal levels of technological and economic growth, that just happen to have augmented different processes and ways of using technology and implementing the benefits of its advances. To increase internationalization, the idea is to expose both faculty and students to these varying alternative methods in order to expand their scientific minds and enrich their experience and knowledge.

This type of enrichment can easily be accomplished by giving students the opportunity to spend semesters abroad in foreign institutions where process may be different. This way they can learn by osmosis and bring back their new-found skills and experiences to help enrich their own home grown methods. This is perfect for limited amounts of students, but not the ideal approach for mass internationalization.

Learning View

This is a view that is concerned with acknowledging that there are different models of technological and economic development throughout the world, not just differences in things like culture and speed of advancement.

In this case, original, or founding, knowledge is created throughout the world, and that relates to nuggets and slices of knowledge that can be found in many different locations through the globe. It is then argued that these organic, locally invented slices of information should be mined and molded in their respective locations in order to create completely new, innovative and ground breaking ideas.

Put in a context like that, internationalization is not a matter of transporting students from developed countries to spread knowledge, but more about learning from every corner of the world and being enriched by whatever nuggets of knowledge they may have discovered. Institution wise, this works best via a series of networks and global curriculums where students can exchange ideas freely.

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