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Seb Anthony

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Learning Styles when training people from different countries



We are devising some training, on regualtion changes and Sales processes, to deliver to a group of delegates, many from differnt Eastern European countries.

Can anyone offer any information on learning styles that may appeal to the delegates?



4 Responses

  1. Learning styles from different cultures
    Interesting question with globalisation,multinational companies etc – good perspective on this issue is in Ch.12 in M.Sloman’s ‘The Changing World of the Trainer’ – see if you can access it.
    Chris Whelan

  2. Delegates from different countries
    As in the UK, much depends on context (eg group size, whether they know each other, whether they have had previous exposure to your style of working, whether they are comfortable with English, etc.). Generalising, I’d say that in Eastern Europe they may be more familiar with a slightly formal, didactic style at the outset. Set the tone right from the outset, especially during the introductions. I have found that you if engage them in discussion and are genuinely encouraging of contributions then they warm up by end of day 1 or start of day 2. Depending on whether you have interpretors, watch for jargon and colloquialisms (some terms are deceptive in they can mean subtley different things eg role-play, competence, training). So if in doubt explain what you mean but keep those explainations short and simple. Disclose a bit about yourself, especially over coffee.
    You’ll see in Martyn’s book (see below) that the core trainer skills are pretty much the same.
    Best of luck

  3. Training of East European cultures
    Dear Claire

    I train sales staff from Eastern Europe and do agree with Graham that the approach is slightly more formalised and structured. In my experience was has really helped is initially understanding their current business environment. This is regarding particularly governmental and financial structures that may entirely different from ours. In addition I have noted that even though it depends on personalities they are less inclined to advise you if they are not in agreement with what is being said or if it does not work for their environment. I have found it useful to take time to interview them with regards to a certain application. One of my advisers has been “Training International Managers” it assist with the design deploy and delivery of training for multicultural groups. The authors are Alan Melkman and John Trotman.

    Best regards

  4. Slow down
    Hi Claire,

    I would like to follow on from Graham’s advice.

    I am currently part of a team training 800 people from all of the central and Eastern European countries in 12 large group courses. With only 100 left to do the course, I have learnt the following in our mixed country groups.

    1) There is a huge variance in English language – make sure that who ever delivers uses “international training English”.

    2) Be prepared for weaker speakers to work with better speakers of the same language. This means that splitting down the group for syndicate work / experiential activities doesn’t always work in terms of equal numbers and also you will hear the occasional whispering.

    3) Big group (15 people) discussions can be slow & quiet as people may not wish to speak English so breaking down experiential review discussions in to small groups works far better. I If I split them in to small groups I ask them to speak in the language that is most comfortable for the small group.

    4) Generally these countries seem more “attached” to mobile phones than others, so set clear ground rules in use.

    5)They really enjoy experiential learning, including a ropes course that I have built for the project, as long as the briefing is really, really clear and that the messages / review from it are linked strongly back to business.

    6) We are using learning logs so that they can write up learning’s from each session in to once document in their own language so that they can enhance retention.

    7) They are really good on being on time but they do, in general, seem to like partying at night. We have been starting 15 minutes before in the mornings to ensure we keep to track and closing the bar at mid night.

    8) Course tend to go a bit slower than you would normally plan for due to the language issues.

    I am happy to chat about the experience if you like. I am around most of the week and back out to cold Hungary on Sunday ūüôĀ

    Regards from a sunny Spain, Andi


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