The UK is number one for global organisations to locate their European headquarters which means that many L&D professionals are faced with the challenge of creating engaging, bilingual learning to a wide audience.
Very often, this needs to be delivered quickly, and it must have a consistent message whilst addressing the needs of the learner. This is no small task, but L&D professionals need to tackle this head on should they want to create global relevancy with their solutions.
So, where do you start? What things do we need to consider when creating learning to be delivered across the globe?
To start, we need to be sure that all key messages and learning objectives are consistent and presented clearly to assure the required level of competency is achieved throughout the organisation.
Of course, this is not the same as saying “one size fits all”, which is simply not possible, for example safety legislation may vary from country to country, and these differences need to be identified and accounted for. When an organisation needs learning to be delivered across the globe there are many things to consider before jumping to a solution.
Five of the key factors that need to be considered are:
Drivers and outcomes
What knowledge, skills or behaviour change are needed, as a result of this learning?
If the business doesn’t know why they need the training or what problem they are actually trying to fix, and the need is based on assumption rather than fact, then how do you know that training is the answer?
What are the most effective yet cost efficient methods?
Understanding what the business needs versus what the business wants should be a key consideration in any decision-making process. Once you have established exactly what you are trying to achieve, you’ll be in a position to consider the different methods.
However, bear in mind, the cheapest option might not necessarily be the most effective. Try to calculate the return you will get for each option to identify the long-term ROI, helping you select the most cost efficient method.
Never assume what works in one country will work elsewhere.
In order to identify the range of global views on a single subject you must spend time understanding the audience to deliver culturally relevant learning.
Variations in culture may be accounted for in the business already but this needs to be reflected in the training. This can be done by closely communicating with key stakeholders.
Can one size fit all?
‘Off the shelf’ solutions are usually unable to meet the challenges of localised culture, and this needs to be considered when creating content. Tailored learning creates the opportunity to maintain and promote business identity and culture at a consistent, global level. If this is an important factor for your learning, then consider this when scoping your solutions.
It’s also important to consider your learners here. Many of your people will have different, preferred ways of learning, so for optimum success it might be worth providing a variety of delivery methods for each piece of learning.
Think about all the practicalities of the learning you want to deploy.
What are the working patterns/time differences? Do they have 24/7 learning needs? Is the right technology in place? Consider everything from lack of high speed broadband to no sound cards.
This isn’t always as straightforward as it might sound. Most global organisations, particularly those who have external sales/marketing models i.e. distributor networks, affiliate arms, channel marketing teams and so on, are, in our experience, highly unlikely to be able to give you a specification document for their technology requirements. That means, it’s important for you to do your research and ensure you’ve asked the right questions to get the answers you need.
So, what works best?
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula on what works best for specific topics or subjects in specific industries or countries.
If a business is working with a supplier to create the learning, then this is where the L&D professional will need to really get under the skin of the organisation.
Quite simply it should always be the needs of the learner that are the ultimate focus, and the skill is to balance these with the business requirements and outcomes.
Discover more about different approaches to achieving this and things you need to consider when planning your project with our free whitepaper, ‘Delivering Global Learning’.
Kerry Pascall, Head of Digital Learning, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs you can expect some tips on implementing eLearning, what to consider when commissioning eLearning, design tips, software and authoring pros and cons, and general advice on everything eLearning!
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