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Educating Professionals Leveraging Diversity in Globalizing Education

Ard Huizing
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Rik Maes
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Thomas Thijssen
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Globalization leads to an intensification of worldwide social relations linking distant localities (Giddens, 1990), which will result in greater cultural diversity in educational settings. This article is based on the premise that this diversity can be leveraged into enhanced learning capabilities, which, following Ashby’s law of requisite variety (1956), every system needs that is confronted with growing complexity and dynamism in its environment. However, whereas globalization enables closer contacts among different cultures; it does not inform us how to employ cultural differences. The challenge posed by globalization is therefore how to actually combine the varied ideas, knowledge, and skills of different cultures in such a way that diversity can indeed be seen as a constant source of critical inquiry, learning, and innovation? Furthermore, how can higher education institutions leverage diversity most productively and, in that way, help shape globalization? This article reports on how the Department of Information Management of the University of Amsterdam prepares itself for the effects globalization has and will have on higher education. This department has a long record of experimentation with education design and the organization of learning processes, both relating to regular bachelor and master programs as well as to postgraduate lifelong learning and continuing education initiatives. Out of these experimentations and innovations the learning by sharing framework has evolved that is based upon a social learning theory. The purpose of this article is to show how diversity can be leveraged through learning by sharing. The article is organized as follows. First, the mutual relationship between globalization and diversity is explored. Then, five categories of globalization implications for higher education are distinguished, which are all further detailed and explained. Next, the learning by sharing framework is presented as one bottom up response of one department that is increasingly facing the challenge of globa lization and leveraging diversity. Furthermore, three recent education initiatives of the Department of Information Management are discussed, showing how the five categories of globalization effects on higher education can be exploited in concrete educational settings. They also indicate that leveraging diversity is a learning process in itself. The lessons that can be derived from the three education initiatives are therefore explicitly discussed in the final section.

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Reference:Huizing, A., Maes, R., Thijssen, T. (2004). "Educating Professionals Leveraging Diversity in Globalizing Education," University of Amsterdam, Netherlands . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 4(18). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/4-18
Keywords:Globalization, diversity, lifelong learning processes, learning by sharing, post graduate education, higher education
Item Type:Article - Volume 4 Article 18 (2004)
Email: Ard Huizing (a.huizing@uva.nl)
Rik Maes (maestro@uva.nl)
Thomas Thijssen (Hamint@wxs.nl)

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