The GEC Blog

Culture + Adult Learning + Technology

When it comes to culture, why are people so stubborn?

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?

January 2, 2012 - Posted by | Cultural Blindness | , ,


  1. We don’t get no respect, do we? People just don’t know what they don’t know. In my last job I tried to advise cops that were designing courses for cops all over the world. They used so many idioms that were not readily accessible and techniques that would potentially “shame” participants. I wish I could give you a formula for getting people to listen but sometimes there have to be negative consequences before they start looking for cultural causes.Often the leadership sets the tone so if you can get through to the top people, the rest will think it is important. Good luck!

    Check out some multicultural tips at

    Comment by Marcella Simon | September 13, 2013 | Reply

  2. I had a similar experience with a client, who was providing training to customs officers around the world. I worked with the instructional designer, who understood the challenges (especially for courses that were to be translated). However, as is often the case, he (even with my ‘evidence’) had a difficult time convincing the client to change language (tone, structure, idioms, etc.). Maybe the consequences won’t be ‘super-negative’ (the type that cause a course to crash), but I would bet money that the courses were less effective than they could have been!

    Comment by edmundsona | September 15, 2013 | Reply

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