transferable skills, intercultural awareness and communication, linguistic competence, collaboration, digital literacies, critical-thinking, meta-cognitive abilities, internationalisation


We are very pleased to bring you this Special Issue (SI) for the Journal of Virtual Exchange entitled Virtual Exchange and the Development of Transferable Skills : A Review of Practices Across Disciplines. The overarching theme of the papers, each one integrating online pedagogical practice within a Virtual Exchange (VE), is the development of participants’ transferable skills to other work and study contexts. While there is no one universally-accepted definition of what transferable skills are, or consensus on what they include or exclude, they are as a blanket-term increasingly sought after by employers in recruitment and job descriptions to complement professional knowledge. O’Dowd in the Foreword provides a succinct discussion of the term. We understand transferable skills as a concept embracing a wide spectrum of cognitive, affective and behavioural competencies; examples featuring in the manuscripts below include intercultural communication and global citizenship, digital literacies, critical-thinking and mentoring. Expanding the concept of transferable skills, the newer term transversal skills can include ICT, language and cognitive skills (e.g., collaboration, negotiation and information-sharing) (Goggin et al., 2019), and these learning outcomes can also be seen in the Special Issue.

Author Biographies

Florence Le Baron-Earle, University of Limerick

Dr Florence Le Baron-Earle is a Teacher in French, Technology and Cross-Cultural Communication at the University of Limerick, Ireland, and also an active member of the Centre for Applied Language Studies. She enjoys implementing innovative pedagogies and student-centred practices, such as virtual exchanges which foster collaboration and intercultural understanding.

Claire O’Reilly, University College Cork

Claire O’Reilly is Lecturer in German at University College Cork and course coordinator of the BSc International Business (German) degree since 2005. She has published in areas of Irish-German relations, Intercultural Communication and Life Writing and is an enthusiastic advocate of Virtual Exchange and the transformative effect it can have on student learning.