I am in Brazil for almost a week to work with Affero, a Brazilian company that specializes in corporate training. We are working together on a globalization project. I have to say, I am excited to be involved in Brazilian business, for many reasons. First and foremost are the Brazilians themselves: Hardworking and extremely creative but even better – so warm and relaxed and hospitable. It seems like businesses here really embrace the notion of creativity and innovation without making it a ‘campaign’ like U.S. businesses do. It just seems to come naturally. From my perspective, U.S. businesses restrict their own creativity and innovation simply by the many rules (social or corporate) that they use in business. To be creative in the U.S., you almost need someone’s permission! Here in Brazil, creativity flows naturally and with enthusiasm. In my opinion, if a business has to install measures to generate creativity and innovation, it is already lacking the culture to do so.
As to the business of elearning, I have seen more exciting ideas here in one day than I have from a month of U.S. exposure! Really! I am not a technologist (I focus on strategy and cultural adaptation), but I’ve seen technologies being used at Affero – combined with their creative approach to instructional design – that show me how Brazil IS already a leader in corporate training and elearning.
Lastly, this Brazilian company immediately understood the value of cultural adaptation of instructional design. Yes, I am biased, but in the U.S., I spend an inordinate amount of time convincing businesses that this is important. Here, they already know it and ACT. I am looking forward to a long and productive association with Affero and Brazil – but especially with the people!
People pay me to analyze their training and elearning and then make it more culturally appropriate, yet…they hesitate to adopt my recommendations! Sometimes, it’s too late for them to make changes, but more often, it’s a refusal to recognize that these changes really do affect how people learn, how well they receive the course, and how successful the learning event is.
How can I overcome this cultural blindness that doesn’t allow people to realize that others ARE different and thus, prefer to learn differently?
I’ve decided to kick-off the New Year with a blog for the Global eLearning Community. I invite you to post responses to my comments about my experiences, work, and research. Any comment I post is just the beginning of a new discussion!
I want to hear from YOU about your experiences, so that the WORLD can better understand that people from different cultures learn and teach differently and, to be effective, we need to adapt our mindset and approaches to other learning preferences and styles.
Dr. Andrea Edmundson, CPLP and President of the GEC