DEI in the Learning Process: A More Inclusive Model for Building Learning Experiences in a Global Environment.

Global corporate learning is improving but it is not yet meeting the needs of learners around the world. A description of the current state of global learning and some of its causes can be found in the first article here. This article is part of a series meant to equip the learning leaders of global organizations on the best practices for creating engaging and impactful learning experiences for every team member, no matter the region or culture. CLICK HERE to see a list of the topics covered in this series and access the articles.

Analysis in Global, Multicultural, Multilingual Organization

The bedrock of the learning creation process is analysis. This is true for ADDIE, Michael Allen’s SAM (Successive Approximations Model), Bloom’s Taxonomy, or any other instructional design model. This, of course, makes sense. To ignore the analysis process would be like building a home without a blueprint. Can it be done? Of course. Would anyone want to live there?  Probably not. 

How should learning analysis be done in a global, multilingual, multicultural corporation? Is there anything unique about the analysis stage when the audience includes people from around the world? How do the values of diversity and inclusion alter learning in the global context? We believe there are unique components for global companies. Before we describe them, let’s review the first step of the analysis process. 

The Essential Questions of Analysis and Discovery

There are several components to analysis. This article will focus specifically on the first step of analysis called Discovery. Think of it like going to a physician. The appointment is primarily built around a series of questions: what is happening, where does it hurt, what is your family history, and how long has this been going on? This is the diagnostic stage. Prescription and prognosis will come later but only after these questions are answered.

Discovery as part of a learning analysis is similar. It is a series of questions. Some are easily answered, some may not apply while others may be very difficult. The point is to gather the information, reflect on it, and then begin to formulate a plan. In no particular order, the questions are:

  1. What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
  2. Is this our highest priority right now?
  3. How does solving this problem connect to your company’s overall objectives?
  4. How will this training experience benefit learners?
  5. What has already been done? What current material exists?
  6. How will we know that we have been successful?
  7. Who are the learners? (More about this in the next article)
  8. Who are the stakeholders?
  9. Who are the subject matter experts?
  10. What is the budget?
  11. What are other companies doing to solve this problem?
  12. How will we deliver this content?
  13. What is the skill set of learners currently and what does it need to be?
  14. Who will make the final decisions on content?

Global Learning and Discovery

This list is not meant to be an exhaustive list but is a good place to begin. The issue for this article is whether or not there are any unique applications of these questions for learning leaders in a global, multilingual, multicultural organization. In other words, if you were building a course for learners in many cultures and languages, would you do anything differently in discovery than if you were building it for five hundred people local to you who were homogeneous? The answer is yes.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become major themes in the world of large corporations–and for good reason. The central idea is to promote the full participation of all people and groups who have been historically underrepresented. 

Most of the conversations have been about building learning initiatives and opportunities to be more inclusive, equitable, and inclusive. Chances are, if you lead a learning team at a corporation, DEI is listed near the top of your learning objectives for the year.

Have we also made sure that these principles are applied to the team creating the learning, especially when many nations, cultures, and languages are involved? Having diverse people from the same culture does not address the issue, especially if their communication with learners outside their culture is limited or non-existent. 

Think of an ethnically diverse group of people who all live in Philadelphia who are doing discovery analysis for a company with employees in twelve different nations on three continents who speak more than twenty languages. Imagine that they rarely interact with learners, especially those from other nations. A photograph might show diversity but the reality would be that the learning team is not truly globally diverse or inclusive. Neither would the learning it creates. 

One of the key considerations is who will be in the conversation when discovery questions are being asked and answered. Whose input will be sought? What relationships will be nurtured in other parts of the world?

Learning teams need to be as inclusive as possible. That can happen either through having global learning leaders involved or by developing strong relationships with those not from your culture. 

Consider the first question from the list above: What is the problem that you are trying to solve? It is not always easy to get alignment on the answer even in smaller local companies. In an organization with locations around the world, it becomes even more difficult. Whose problem is this? Is it a global problem or something specific to one location or region? Is it a priority for every location or something more localized?

Enterprise-level multinational, multilingual corporations are not monolithic and neither are their learning challenges. It will be difficult to know the answer without the inclusion of people outside the central office. The learning needs may well be global, but global input is needed to know with certainty.

One further question not included in the list above. In which languages and cultures will this training be delivered? It is too easy–and far too common–for languages and cultures to be an afterthought. Translation and localization are done once the material in the primary language is completed. This is a mistake. Global learning, done well, requires that global considerations are part of the conversation at the very beginning, in the analysis and discovery stage, and carry through the entire process of building learning experiences. 

Ingenuit is a unique learning agency that combines expertise in learning, localization, and staff augmentation. We are ISO-certified in three different areas to ensure projects are on time, on budget, and on target. To view our solutions, please visit our learning solutions page CLICK HERE. If you need another set of eyes on your global learning solutions, the learning experts at Ingenuiti are ready to help. We offer a Global Learning Needs Analysis which is a session with our learning experts to review your learning challenges and consider solutions. Please click CLICK HERE to set up a time to talk.