Learn-a-Palooza Tip #2: Multi-Culti Design

We’re back, with a second installment of tips I picked up at the Learn-a-Palooza event hosted by the Puget Sound Chapter of ATD (Association for Talent Development) on May 19, 2017

I was drawn to Maggie Shelton’s mini-session entitled “Crossing Borders” because I dream of working with international training audiences again at some point in the future. Another draw for me is that any audience is multi-cultural when you account for intersectionality, and I’m a firm believer in designing with your audience in mind for the best possible learning gains.

Maggie has lived and designed learning in multiple countries, and graciously distilled her years of experience into a few tips for designing for multi-culti audiences:

1.Pilot! Test the training in 2-3 locations before finalizing materials

For Maggie, “location” = country. My experience with domestic U.S. audiences proves out her point that piloting in multiple locations (read “mini-culture”) offers valuable insights for designing for all.

2. Explore cultural norms

A couple of resources surfaced in the mini-session conversation that warrant exploration:

3. Build training so that it can be locally tailored

  • Define a clear purpose for each section or activity. Being clear improves transfer to local trainers.
  • Provide strong (brief and straightforward) debrief bullets. Include key learning outcomes, and common pitfalls along with how to address them.
  • Create strong and clear train-the-trainer guides with space for notes, and use key words consistently. Back up the guide by nurturing a community of practice among trainers.

There you have it, a three-point list distilled from years of experience. Go forth and design for the multi-culti in every audience!


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