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A Blended Learning Approach for Success in Today’s Global Workplace


Instructor-Led and Electronic-Led Training: A Blended Learning Approach for Success in Today’s Global Workplace

How should training and development adapt to reflect the growing diversity in our globally mobile workforce? When our workforce no longer comes from a homogeneous culture, how should the training adapt? Today’s workforce needs personalized training, as well as just-in-time resources to address the ever changing demands of a multicultural business environment. Blended Learning offers a holistic approach to talent development that meets these demands.

An Urban shift from Homogeneous to Heterogeneous

As we look to the future and prepare for working in the global market place, it is important to take notice how the face of the globally mobile workplace has changed. PwC’s Talent Mobility 20201 underscores the shift in Mobility expected by 2020: with this shift comes a variety of workplace challenges.

If we take a snapshot of the global workplace today, we find a demographic shift from homogeneous cultures to a disparate combination of cultures – Cultural Diversity. Imagine the scene today in 2016; a Dutch company has a manufacturing operation in Guangzhou, China. Expats are sent from the offshore offices in Malaysia, Germany Brazil, USA, Russia, and Italy to expand operational and development segments in emerging markets. At the corporate office in Amsterdam, established in the 19th century, the employee composition is now 50% Dutch. The remaining 50% are from: other EU countries as well as Japan, USA, Canada, The Philippines, China, and Turkey. 2020 globalization is here!

It is no longer adequate to train expats to leave their home culture and work in a host culture when both countries are no longer homogeneous. In addition to expats, local team managers and international business travelers benefit from training on the cultural and work style differences that these demographic shifts are creating. So how do we enable our colleagues to excel and achieve desired outcomes in this challenging, culturally diverse work environment? Is Instructor-Led Training (ILT) or Electronic-Led Training (ELT) the best? Research confirms2:

Instructor Led Training is ideal when:

  • It is important to change behaviors.Blended Learning
  • The content covers multiple areas of development and skills proficiency.
  • The desired learning seeks to involve the five senses in higher level developmental learning.
  • The desired outcomes are: improved focus, skills practice, increased adaptability, and face-to-face dialogue.
  • A safe place where trust and confidentiality is vital so that feedback can occur.


eLearning is ideal when:

  • It is necessary to broadcast a common training across a large population of users.
  • The outcome is to improve compliance-based courses, such as software and technical skill-building courses.
  • There is a need to revisit a topic.
  • Pre-work is a desired option.

Blended Learning: Combining Instructor-Led Training with e-Learning

A 2010 U.S. Department of Education meta-analysis study concluded that blended ELT and ILT instruction is the most effective process for developing sustainable talent, improved skills, and performance3.

Current corporate training practice tends to either provide e-learning as a stand-alone program that is under-utilized, or an event based in-person training that does not provide the sustainability required. The optimal learning environment for preparing employees to work in complex heterogeneous cultures requires a blended approach.

Research indicates optimal adult learning occurs when:

  1. An employee can electronically access the learning content and review in advance.
  2.  A one to two day instructor led training occurs where the pre-content is reviewed; new content is delivered and application of the content is practiced.
  3.  Post training follow-up is provided via e-learning resources and personalized coaching to further fine-tune new behaviors and skills until they become habits in both old and new contexts.

This blended learning process is the new face of Global Mobility training. Blended Learning is a long term investment to ensure sustainable skills in the global workforce. A culturally agile workforce is able to communicate and collaborate; it leverages heterogeneous cultural values for improved outcomes in the workplace. The globalization predicted in 2020 is here today!



End Notes:

  1. Talent Mobility: 2020 and Beyond. 2010. PwC. http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/talent/future-of-work/global-mobility-map.html.
  2. Online vs.in-class success. 2015. Training Magazine. http://www.trainingmag.com/trgmag-article/online-vs-class-success
  3. Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Leaning: A meta-analysis and review. September 2010. U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service.
  4. Cross Cultural Competencies for 2020 and beyond. 2013. Mobility Magazine.
  5. Blended Learning is better than instructor-led or online learning alone. July 16 2013. ATD Association of Talent Development.