E. González-Gascón1, M. De Juan Vigaray2, J. Carmona2, J.J. López García2, C. Martínez Mora2, M.L. Vallés Amores2, V. Hernández Ricarte3

1Universidad Miguel Hernández (SPAIN)
2University of Alicante (SPAIN)
3Instituto Gabriel Miró (SPAIN)
The main goal of the present study is to determine whether or not there are differences between Spanish and exchange students when it comes to acquiring several transferable skills. There is an increasing number of international students in our classrooms. Although we are better acquainted with the profile of the Spanish students, we know that exchange students come from completely different cultures and education systems, and it is worth exploring if a cross-cultural setting has an effect on the acquisition of transferable skills by the students. The present study has been conducted by the members of Red I+Do+i (Spanish for “Network of the Programme in Business Studies: Research + Teaching + Innovation;”), a group with a multidisciplinary approach to the research on teaching [].
To achieve our goal (and as part of a more ambitious project), we have selected two modules in the marketing area that focus on commercial distribution and share many characteristics: both modules are taught by the same instructor, who uses the same teaching methods, the modules content and intended learning outcomes are similar, they are also worth a similar number of credits, and finally, both are optional modules. On the other hand, one of the modules is part of the International Business Programme of the University of Alicante, and is taught in English. Consequently, most of the students who take it are exchange students; the other module is included in the regular Business Programme, is taught in Spanish, and most students are therefore Spanish. The participation of both groups of students was entirely voluntary and anonymous. They completed a questionnaire specially designed to analyse the acquisition of transferable skills in these two modules.
The paper includes a short review of the literature on competencies and transferable skills, a description of the methods used by the researchers, as well as the main findings. Finally, we present the main conclusions of our analysis. One that is worth drawing attention to is that we found statistically significant differences in three of the eight transferable skills examined (in both groups), which suggests different learning outcomes according to the educational experience of each group of students. For example, one of these skills refers to the use of IT tools.
Likewise, the results suggest that the teaching methods used in these modules are appropriate, and facilitate the development and acquisition of the transferable skills here analysed. These include the ability to learn independently (essential in the new educational model based on the European Higher Education Area), or the active participation in the classroom, which is very important when students enter the labour market since it encourages proactive behaviour in the work place.