4 Advantages of Globally Networked Learning

Oct 23, 2018 9:21:29 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

It’s been said that collaboration is increasingly key for innovation in our digital world.

International barriers are being removed through technology in the workplace as more and more companies lean toward global collaboration. They’re looking outward in an effort to extend learning, encourage creativity, and embrace new business opportunities.

CAPA’s motto is “Go Beyond”. One of the many ways students are able to do exactly that on our study and intern abroad programs is through Globally Networked Learning (GNL).

4 Advantages of Globally Networked Learning Title Graphic

Instead of opening up one city for study abroaders, a robust tech infrastructure specific to CAPA allows students across many of CAPA’s host cities to connect for learning opportunities, content sharing, research projects, career-related role play, brainstorming and presentations. There’s integrated video conferencing so students can see each other’s classrooms in real time, share recordings with other locations and communicate in ways that will encourage the formation of global perspectives.

In short, CAPA’s GNL technology takes an international learning experience and makes it a global one. It takes academics and internships to a different level, presenting classrooms and projects that fall in line with the environment of the internationally collaborative workplaces of the future.

Infographic on Globally Networked Learning

“GNL gives students experience in working on international projects. There are many benefits to this, but also many challenges. By giving students exposure to these challenges, and by helping foster the sense of innovation and creativity required to overcome them, CAPA is giving its students a real leg up,” said Dr. Kristin Dean, Director of Academic Technology and Globally Networked Learning, who has been instrumental in building, implementing, and expanding CAPA’s GNL technology since the concept was introduced in 2015.

“I even heard recently from a CAPA alumna who was invited to participate in an international merger project at her first job. She was very junior, but she since had the GNL experience, she was the only one in the office with the skills it took to get that project moving. That's impressive!”

Let’s take a closer look at four specific advantages of Globally Networked Learning:

1. Global Collaboration

The first and most obvious advantage is that GNL allows for collaboration on projects between CAPA students who are studying abroad in different countries around the world. One example of this global connectivity at work is in CAPA’s “Analyzing and Exploring the Global City” course, which is taught in all CAPA locations. At the moment, students studying abroad in Dublin, Florence, London and Sydney add their own photos and videos from their city explorations during class to a map. Their captions comment on a broader theme up for discussion in class, and the worldwide photos are reviewed as a group in their class meetings.

Students in Exploring the GlobalCity ClassCAPA Dublin students on a field trip in their Exploring the Global City class.

Another example comes from Matthew Benczkowski, a Molecular Biology Major from the University of Pittsburgh who shared his experience while studying abroad in Sydney: “I am working with a girl in Florence on a short movie script covering tropes from both Italian and Australian films,” he said. “At the same time, I’m doing a collaborative project with CAPA students from Florence and Dublin on how multiculturalism affects the environment around us. This not only integrates us with our immediate community, but other CAPA global cities as well.”


Not only is role play in class a fun way to mix up learning styles and change the pace a bit, but it’s also an excellent way to put yourself into a situation that you may actually encounter in your career. GNL takes this a step further and allows students to role-play with academic colleagues in other countries.

Students in Exploring the Global City Class

One example here is the “Global Workforce Management” class which sees collaboration between CAPA students who are studying abroad in London and Florence. Students participate in a simulation activity where they play the role of HR managers, helping to facilitate a merger between an artisan chocolate company in Florence, Italy, and a large corporate chocolate powerhouse based in London, UK. Video conferencing in our global classrooms allows these students to have face-to-face meetings. Students give group presentations during class, and out-of-class they have to work with their international colleagues to devise their plans and compose materials for class meetings.


GNL allows for one topic to be examined cross-culturally, through many different lenses. Students in one country can listen to local guest speakers in another. It’s a wonderful way to take a deep dive into some of the global topics and challenges that we’re faced with today, and to compare and analyze several perspectives across the world. One example is CAPA’s annual global city conference series, in which our students across the globe get together for a day through GNL to listen to guest speakers, hear debates, exchange ideas, see our acting students perform and have discussions, all around one particular topic. Two past conferences have covered Human Rights and Civil Rights.

GNL Technology In use during a CAPA conference


As one of the core strands of CAPA’s focus on personal and professional development, remote collaboration through GNL is also incorporated into the program for those participating in internships abroad. Workshops are feasible through Masterclasses, for example, and further remove the limitations that physical location can impose.

Careers are also in the spotlight through a series that CAPA live streams and records called “CAPA Talks” featuring leading industry professionals. These are inspired by TEDTalks, so if you’re already fan of those, you’ll appreciate and be inspired by “CAPA Talks” as well.

GNL Video Taken during a CAPA conference

Globally Networked Learning is continually improving and evolving. We asked Dr. Dean if there’s a vision for how it could be used in the future. She said, “GNL has a lot of potential to reach students who otherwise feel excluded from study abroad. We have already welcomed the University of California Riverside, who successfully linked a cohort of their students traveling throughout Ireland to a cohort based at home campus. While certainly the students at home would have missed the experience of studying in Ireland, they gained exposure to the global perspectives their academic colleagues gained through their experience. That's just one example of the sort of opportunities that could really open up further in the future.”

Interested in learning more about Globally Networked Learning and how it can benefit your students? Contact one of our institutional relations managers today.


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