-9. What global considerations do you need to take into account for e-learning?

- If your e-learning will have a global reach, you need to think long and hard about:

- Language

- Time zones

- Cultural differences (learning styles, humor)

Tell Me More

If your company is a global business, then you already know that communication within a global company is significantly different from communication within a company that operates within a single country. The global considerations are a result of these communication factors:

1. Language. You will have to solve the language problem. Students from different countries and different cultures will speak different languages. There are two main approaches to this, neither of which is perfect:

- Make different versions of the e-learning courseware in different languages. You can immediately see the cost of doing it this way.

- Insist that all students around the world speak a common language. You'll have to pick a single language and figure out what to do with students who can't speak it.

2. Time zones. When it's 8 a.m. in New York City, it's 9 p.m.in Tokyo. This is a significant problem if you need to have students and instructors communicating at the same time during the class. The solution, of course, is to emphasize more asynchronous communications: bulletin board messages, team room messages/responses, etc.

3. Culture. Different cultures have different rules for what is appropriate, for what is funny, for what is embarrassing, for what is obscene. Different cultures also have different predominant learning styles: Asking questions might be appropriate in one culture and inappropriate in another. Running multicultural classes, which e-learning enables, is a challenge for the instructional design, for the human instructor, and for the students in the class.

Summary

- An e-learning success has to be thought of in business terms, not in training terms. The entire reason you're involved with training is for business improvement.

- If you have any experience at all with implementing and rolling out new things in a company, you know that there are always barriers and that it's best to know about them up front.

- Barriers to e-learning range from people's natural resistance to any kind of change, to new technology, to budget constraints.

- Employees take their cues from management, and managers will be expected to keep realistic expectations, provide leadership, provide support, and manage the change that e-learning will bring to your company.

- Using leading-edge technology is important but not critical.

- The bottom line is the soundness of the instructional design. Students can learn from a simple presentation if it's instructionally sound. Students don't learn from a jazzy-looking multimedia event if it's NOT instruction-ally sound.

- E-learning will be a "different experience" for many of your employees. It will feel different. Some people enjoy trying things that feel different. Others don't.

- You will have to deal with e-learning challenges such as unfamiliarity, lack of self-motivation, lack of time, and the perception that it's contrary to company culture.

- Learning is work, not entertainment.

- Many people are accustomed to learning only in the traditional classroom environment and find it hard to learn "on their own."

- Teaching an e-learning course is, in fact, harder than teaching a classroom course.

- Instructors who have honed their skills toward the classroom experience will need to learn new skills.

- If your e-learning will have a global reach, then you need to think long and hard about:

- Language

- Time zones

- Cultural differences (learning styles, humor)

 
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