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Adapting e-learning to Chinese norms

Adapting e-learning, training courses to Chinese norms  - medical translationIn the current issue of Multilingual, Andrea Edmundson of eWorld Learning writes about how to adapt training programs in general and e-learning programs specifically for use in China.

This is a timely topic for many pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. These companies are moving more and more of their training efforts online or into CBT. In that process, the issue of cultural adaptation becomes much more important. (Not that they're unimportant in instructor-led courses but there, the instructor can make adjustments on the fly.)

Edmundson's article references the extensive work done by Geert Hofstede on how values in the workplace are influenced by culture.

So, when adapting a training program for use in China, course developers would do well to heed some of Hofstede's findings:

  • The Chinese rank lower than any other Asian country in the Individualism ranking.
  • Of note is China's significantly higher Power Distance ranking.
  • China's religion is officially designated as Atheist by the State.
One conclusion from this: When it comes to globalizing e-learning or training programs, anything but the simplest courses will require considerable effort beyond "just" Chinese translation.

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