6 Tips To Facilitate Cultural Competency In Online Training

6 Tips To Facilitate Cultural Competency In Online Training
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Summary: In a multi-national workplace, you need to be able to break down the walls between different cultures. Are you using online training effectively to bring your diverse workforce together?

How To Facilitate Cultural Competency In Online Training

Cultural competency in online training is a fantastic resource for bringing together a global community into one environment. L&D can be rolled out quickly and consistently, regardless of the corporate learner’s location. Similar job roles in different countries can receive messaging that makes individuals feel valued and included, but with global working comes cultural competency. How can you ensure that colleagues are communicating effectively? The power of online training in this space is in educating everyone in respecting differences and celebrating similarities. The opportunities for educating employees about working together, regardless of their background, are huge when eLearning technologies are used effectively.

Why Does Cultural Competence Matter?

Culture plays a huge role in how people interact and engage with one another. This may lay out in how colleagues work together, or how a customer experiences your support service. Even within a single country, many different cultures may be represented. People may struggle to understand someone from another culture because of how they express themselves through values, slang, humor, beliefs, and language.

If we don’t understand a colleague’s background, we may fail to deliver or receive instructions, feedback or recognition. If we fail to consider the impact of culture, then we deliver poor service that does not respond to individual needs. eLearning is ideal for promoting cultural competency in online training because it places every corporate learner in the same environment. Everyone is able to stay on the same brand-centric page, and interactive elements can be employed to bring difficult concepts to life.

Getting The Best Out Of Cultural Competency Online Training

A monotone, text-based online training course will improve cultural awareness for nobody! You can’t develop a different online training course for every single country, background, religion or social group. Instead, you need to make use of visual and interactive elements that are universally understood.

1. Use English, But With Awareness Of Accent

English is the universal language of business, yes. But why restrict voice-overs to an American or English speaker? Corporate learners that hear voices from across the world broaden their horizons and increase their awareness. Gather material from speakers in Australia, India, Brazil, Italy… the options are endless. To facilitate cultural competency in online training, vary the tone and the accent in all your online training courses so that everyone feels included and represented. In short, you want your online training course to reflect a broader demographic so that employees can relate to the online training content.

2. Reflect Different Environments In Visual Elements

Do we really need to see another video set in a cubicle in a North American office? Why not vary the view: take people outside or into central spaces, so corporate learners can experience another office location without breaching COVID safety protocols. Show the true diversity of your workforce by including colleagues from across the globe in your visuals. You can also incorporate online training simulations or even Virtual Reality tours that immerse employees in unfamiliar surroundings. Or serious games that enable them to interact with personas that hail from different backgrounds and see things from their point of view.

3. Focus On Delivery And Receipt Of Written Messages

We’ve all received at least once an email that was taken out of context. It’s relatively easy to do, given that we cannot rely on subtle vocal cues or tones. Thus, you should work hard on highlighting some of the key differences in written communications. Demonstrate how a short, formal message from a colleague in one country can be rude or insulting in another. Understanding the intent behind the message – and the potential for misunderstanding – can be enlightening for all involved.

4. Enable Online Group Collaboration

Use your social media platforms and online collaboration tools to allow for online group collaboration projects and online messaging. You can also give corporate learners the opportunity to ask each other questions during an online training course or to highlight their own online training experiences. Encourage individuals to connect following online training to share their knowledge and skills. Group collaboration builds the confidence of those who may not have had a voice in a global setting. You can even invite employees to host their own live events wherein they showcase cultural norms and beliefs.

5. Ask Corporate Learners To Question Their Viewpoint And Approach

Do they realize the impact of the way they are interacting with their global colleagues? Have they taken the time to ask their team members how they would like to work better together? They may discover that certain members do not like teleconferences and struggle with the confidence to speak up. Or they may learn that the time zone of their colleague means that early morning meetings work great for both of you. They may hate video chats, or they may feel totally isolated if they can’t put a face to a name. Challenge your corporate learners to look internally at their own tolerance and flexibility.

6. Provide A Fresh Perspective

Certain employees may not even realize that their actions or words are negatively impacting culturally diverse co-workers/customers. Given them a fresh perspective by incorporating examples, anecdotes, and stories into your online training strategy. For example, a personal anecdote opens their eyes to the fact that customers from other regions follow different meeting etiquette. Or that employees from international branches adhere to unique business practices or policies.


Cultural awareness in the modern workplace is the key to unlocking the benefits of a diverse workforce. After all, what good is it to have representatives from a wide range of backgrounds if no one communicates effectively with one another? It has been widely proven that groups from diverse backgrounds make better decisions. Highlighting and promoting cultural competency in online training gives your corporate learners the opportunity to be at their best. Respecting and recognizing inbuilt cultural norms can give your customer service the edge. Investing in cultural competency can give your company a true competitive advantage.

Are you ready to expand your online training program on a global scale? Choose the best eLearning translation provider for your online training program using our free online directory. It can help you quickly compile a shortlist and evaluate vendor ratings.

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