;   Medical Translation Insight: Culture & learning styles in effective global training - ForeignExchange Translations

Culture and learning styles in effective global training (medical translation)Ahhh - so there is more than one way to learn!

This might seem obvious to anybody familiar with learning styles, but often comes as a surprise to folks developing international training courses.

While technical issues (using XML and UTF-16 solves most of them) and language issues (subject-matter expertise in translators and robust review process) are well understood, many drug and device companies experience problems rolling out U.S.-designed training courses overseas. Not because there might be translation issues but because the pedagogical model or culture-specific content do not fit the target audience.

There is the big concern that American-style learning doesn't travel well [PDF link]. Even "little things" such as how content is presented or the design of the user interface can make the course feel strange and distract the learner from the task at hand.

Effective global training programs (regardless of whether they are instructor-led or computer-based) anticipate these challenges by incorporating culturally appropriate - or culturally neutral - content that speaks to different learning styles. Examples include diagrams and pictures for visual learners, audio content for auditory learners, and hands-on tasks to keep the attention of any physical learners.

Similarly, to be effective across borders and cultures, training programs need to avoid things that will distract different learning styles. A visual learner will be distracted by untidiness and movement, an auditory learner will become easily distracted by sounds and noises, and a physical learner will not be productive if there is distracting activity going on around them.

To make their training programs more effective, course developers at pharmaceutical and device companies are still focusing on good language translation and technical wizardry. But they also work hard to push cultural and pedagogical considerations up-stream, into the early planning stages.

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