top of page

Optimize Time-Zone Planning in Global Classrooms for Cross-Border eLearning


World map with clocks displaying various time zones, captioned 'Sync Your Global Clocks For Optimized L&D

The rapid growth of the internet and other technologies is blurring national borders, making it easier for people worldwide to connect. This has also changed workplace dynamics, with remote work, organizations scaling internationally, outsourcing, and international clients becoming more common. However, managing a globally distributed workforce comes with its own set of challenges. When employees are located in different parts of the world, it can be difficult to design and implement learning initiatives accommodating everyone. 


With more companies expanding globally, L&D departments face the unique challenges of delivering uniform and quality training globally to a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce. 


In this blog, we will discuss the challenges of cross-border training and learning and how to optimize for the best results.


Understanding the Challenges of Global Classrooms and Cross-border Training


1. Time-zone management


The most prominent issue of having a global team is the time zone difference. L&D initiatives usually demand a lot of back-and-forth communication for planning, designing, and strategizing.


It can be challenging to schedule meetings with people in different time zones. Scheduling training with a team of employees in entirely different zones can be a logistical nightmare. It has to be planned so that it's at everyone's convenience. If either one is compromised, it can lead to disinterest and reduced participation.


2. Maintaining uniformity across regions 


When creating learning initiatives and training programs for a global workforce, the main challenge for L&D professionals would be to ensure all the teachings are consistent with the company's core principles and values


However, as we are dealing with diverse groups of people with different cultures and learning styles, it is also important to adapt the training to the audience when it calls for it. 


At first glance, uniformity and diversity seem to be conflicting, but in fact, they can complement each other when approached carefully. For the learning initiative to be successful, both objectives must work in harmony. We will discuss how to achieve this balance in the following segment. 


3. Procuring the right training partners


The further away from the main office, it is harder to find seasoned trainers, coaches and mentors who would be able to deliver the training in their respective local languages. 


Relying on the wrong vendor can lead to massive communication breakdowns, causing delays in the implementation and jeopardizing the core learning of the L&D initiative. It may take a while to find a trustworthy vendor with skilled trainers and recruits who can deliver the training while keeping L&D training objectives in mind and adapting to cultural needs.


Strategies to Optimize Time-Zone Differences During Cross-Border eLearning Initiatives


The most practical way to optimize the time zone difference is to find technology-based solutions.  Let us go through some of these solutions that are easy to implement.


Using LMS (Learning Management System) 


They provide online access to training materials; employees can easily access them anytime, anywhere. They also help to keep the training material uniform and consistent throughout the organization globally. 


These features of LMS make it a valuable tool when dealing with learners separated by thousands of miles and multiple time zones.


LMS comes with the feature of being able to record live classes and webinars; recording live sessions for later viewing ensures no one misses out on any learning opportunities due to time zone inconvenience. Here are our top LMS picks for 2024.

 

Time-zone converting and scheduling tools


 Tools like Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook enable users to schedule events spanning different time zones and automatically convert them into their local time without any hassle. They also come with reminders and notifications. 


Leaning towards asynchronous learning and communication 


"Asynchronous" refers to events that do not occur simultaneously. Methods such as pre-recorded sessions or webinars, discussion boards, and emails fall under asynchronous learning and communication. 


When working with a global network of employees, these methods are the only way to ensure everyone can engage in their own time zone and schedule


24/7 virtual support and chatbots 


Numerous AI-powered learning platforms offer 24/7 chat support to assist learners in solving their doubts anytime. Such tools provide additional support to employees in different time zones, allowing them to clear their queries at their preferred time without any inconvenience to others. You might also want to check out other ways in which AI is changing L&D.


Screenshot of a Zoom call with participants from various countries learning from a presentation

Best Practices for maintaining uniformity across the globe


As we mentioned earlier, the most important aspect of all learning initiatives is that they must align with the overall learning objectives of the L&D department of the parent organization. 


Let's take the example of a US-based tech company that sells software solutions and recently expanded to Japan. During their sales training, the sales team of both branches would be given comprehensive hands-on training on the company's software solutions, covering features, benefits, and use cases. 


Both teams would receive an overview of the company's mission, vision, and core values, emphasizing the importance of customer satisfaction and integrity in all sales interactions. Now, this is the global training strategy for all branches across the globe. 


As the US and Japan are two different countries, each region has its own unique culture and values; therefore, successful sales require aligning the selling style and execution with those values.


The US sales team needs to be friendly and assertive and emphasize the unique selling points of the company's software solutions to differentiate from competitors in the highly competitive US market.


In Japan, sales teams are advised not to smile too much, as it can be seen as disrespectful. Instead, they are encouraged to maintain a patient and calm demeanour. Japanese consumers place a higher value on reliability and quality than on having a unique product. Sales training must highlight the company's track record of reliability and the superior quality of its software solutions.


One important way to maintain consistency in global program materials is to write the main content in a way that is easily translatable to other languages.

  • Using more bullet points than lengthy paragraphs

  • Not to include local slang and concepts

  • In written notes, show where all local examples and explanations would be needed. So, translation can be done more smoothly and in a more organized manner. 


These approaches help maintain the integrity and values of the Global L&D strategy, while each regional department ensures that the learning is adequately adapted to the local manner.


Finding the best training partners for regional offices


As mentioned, it takes a lot of work to procure seasoned and trustworthy trainers; the best way is to use technology to leverage global platforms offering thoroughly vetted trainers, mentors, and educators. Platforms like these are usually AI-driven and use complex algorithms to find the right expert with the exact qualifications and experience your company is looking for. 


Conclusion


Image of puzzle pieces assembling to form a globe. Caption: 'Piecing together global learning one module at a time!'

Globalization has led to the development of many Multinational Corporations and companies expanding their operations globally. This rapid development also brings challenges, especially for Learning and Development (L&D) departments worldwide.


Implementing Cross-Border eLearning initiatives for a global employee network is a monumental task to undertake. The two major issues they face are -  Time zone differences and Consistency and uniformity in all the training programs. Organizations need to train their employees to understand their roles, regardless of location or cultural differences.


The best possible practice to adopt is to leverage technologies and make communication as frictionless as possible. And when it comes to cultivating an excellent culture, there’s always this blog post to read.


Recent Posts

See All

コメント


bottom of page