Global Learning

About Global Learning

Afterschool and expanded learning programs are powerful resources for global learning, and afterschool professionals bring a wealth of experience in developing understanding and appreciation of diverse people and cultures. Global learning is most effective when it builds on the connections in our communities and to the world around us. Global learning exposes young people to the cultures in their communities and requires an intentional approach to expanding horizons for youth, so as to increase the critical global knowledge and skills required for future success.

Key Information

It is important for afterschool and expanded learning programs to incorporate global learning into their programing because it can:

  • Expose young people to in-depth content about global issues as well as cultures, countries and languages.
  • Enable social and emotional development critical to cross-cultural understanding, communication and collaboration.
  • Provide youth with opportunities to develop and use media literacy and technology skills to conduct research on global topics and communicate effectively with peers around the world.
  • Develop leadership and civic participation by empowering young people to take action on issues of both local and global relevance.
  • Engage youth in learning about international possibilities they can pursue in college and their future careers

Strategies to Support Global Learning


  • Get started by examining your program’s mission, goals, activities and determining ways to take it global.
  • Plan for global learning through staff development, new partnerships and evaluation strategies.
  • Transform learning to incorporate global content and experiences across a wide range of subjects and activities.
  • Build on the experiences of youth, families and communities to help young people understand new cultures, view the world from multiple perspectives and develop cross-cultural communication skills.

General Publications

A video of Kai-Ming Cheng at the 2012 National Network Meeting: "Afterschool is repaying students debts we owe."
This one-page matrix outlines a set of outcomes of what students need to know and be able to do to be globally competent.
This publication introduces the definition of global competence developed by the Global Competence Task Force.

Network Publications

A brief overview of how 21st Century Community Learning Centers are making a difference in Oklahoma communities.
This brief highlights research-supported ways in which OST programs might be particularly well suited to support English Learner students.
A policy brief arguing that high-quality global learning in afterschool programs and expanded learning Opportunities is critical to youth success and offers policy recommendations in New York.


All learning settings need to be engaged in the effort to prepare our children for success in a global 21st century.
A resource to assess and improve programs’ capacity to help build the global competence of youth.
The toolkit resources help afterschool trainers and program directors provide professional development experiences that will support high-quality out-of-school programming that prepares youth for success in work and life in the 21st century.