All too often, ethics education is a dull and monotonous activity, and many employees find little connection between the annual compliance education program and the core business issues that are relevant at a local level. However, when an organization’s leadership commits to shaping an ethical culture, there is an opportunity to foster powerful peer-learning experiences. Designing a blended learning strategy enables an organization to employ a range of delivery formats (e.g., online, mobile, live), instructional strategies (e.g., scenario- and game-based learning), and communication tools to build knowledge, develop skills, and change behaviors. By delivering E&C content more frequently through a variety of channels, blended learning addresses different employee learning styles and combats training fatigue. Blended learning offers a more relevant, engaging, and social approach to E&C learning, and it prepares leaders at all levels to set the right tone.
Compounding the convergence of multiple generations and preferences in learning and communication styles, today’s organizations are operating in a global landscape with a diversity of employee and partner situations that require a deeper understanding of cultural preferences. Not only are there the more traditional calls for a blend of visual, auditory, or kinesthetic stimulations, but calls for the framing and context to be more culturally adaptive are mission-critical. While framing the topic of anti-bribery and corruption, the learning simulation for a shop floor employee in Taiwan must be framed in a different situational context than when presenting the same issue to a corporate executive team in Washington, D.C. or a vendor agent in Nigeria. When presenting the issue of speaking up and non-retaliation, the learning interaction presented to a team of claims adjusters in Cleveland, Ohio should be different than the problem-solving simulation developed for a manufacturing team in Santiago, Chile. Taking these diverse learning styles and cultural sensitivities into consideration when designing your education and communications strategy and program can enable greater knowledge “stickiness” and promote more adoption of the concepts of the program. The learning simulations should engage and challenge your workforce to consider the ethical quandaries of their roles and responsibilities, but framing the content with regional or cultural context adds an important dimension of impact and relevance. This strategy can shift the learning from passive participation to active learning and melt the typical barriers of global perception or “lost in translation” typical of many ethics and compliance programs.