Hypothesis of Research


The question purposed in this research is to see if there is evidence of a similarity between the barriers that trainers may face in a learning scenario. The specific scenario is to be that of a business or professional training environment to a multicultural or diverse class.

The research question does not assume to any information leading directly to a hypothesis, but rather to investigate any potential phenomenon, or are there any common themes across the barriers facing the trainers. As we are to be investigating this question, the approach of using thematic analysis is to be applied. The use of thematic analysis research is to allow us to develop our hypothesis from the data collected. With the data collected key points will be broken into codes. The codes will then be grouped according to concepts and discussed. The concepts and discussion will itself provide the findings as to if we can identify specific common barriers and themes.

From the literature review however there are some potential findings about stereotypes and trainer education and background that may be considered and investigated in our coding once we have the data collected. We can also consider how these initial findings may also be reflected by our approach to our research and our interview questions.

The potential constraints that are apparent at the outset from the literature review are that teachers tend to consider multinational barriers when they talk about multicultural barriers, that they understand the other aspects and elements of multiculturalism when questioned but do not initially consider it in their planning or course design and that language is not the primary barrier in reaching a culturally diverse audience. 





The question purposed in this research is to see if there is evidence of a similarity between the barriers that trainers may face in a learning scenario. The specific scenario is to be that of a business or professional training environment to a multicultural or diverse class.

The research question does not assume to any information leading directly to a hypothesis, but rather to investigate any potential phenomenon, or are there any common themes across the barriers facing the trainers. As we are to be investigating this question, the approach of using thematic analysis is to be applied. The use of thematic analysis research is to allow us to develop our hypothesis from the data collected. With the data collected key points will be broken into codes. The codes will then be grouped according to concepts and discussed. The concepts and discussion will itself provide the findings as to if we can identify specific common barriers and themes.

From the literature review however there are some potential findings about stereotypes and trainer education and background that may be considered and investigated in our coding once we have the data collected. We can also consider how these initial findings may also be reflected by our approach to our research and our interview questions.

The potential constraints that are apparent at the outset from the literature review are that teachers tend to consider multinational barriers when they talk about multicultural barriers, that they understand the other aspects and elements of multiculturalism when questioned but do not initially consider it in their planning or course design and that language is not the primary barrier in reaching a culturally diverse audience. 




Motivation - RSA Drive (You need to see this)



If you can spare 10 minutes in your day and your really should, I cannot express how much that this fantastic piece of animation could really open up your eyes to what drives us as individuals. This piece is a fantastically factual and insightful piece.


The full lecture can be found below.





If you can spare 10 minutes in your day and your really should, I cannot express how much that this fantastic piece of animation could really open up your eyes to what drives us as individuals. This piece is a fantastically factual and insightful piece.


The full lecture can be found below.



Literature Review - Multicultural Techniques

Even as we can see that the focus of studies would seem to focus on the need of the student the focus of many of the studies however that do address the teachers needs simply refer to cultural competence (Ansley, Ervin and Davenport, 2010)(Leighton, 2010)(Johnson, 2010). The discussions we see are around teacher preparation yet none of these articles discuss the preparation need for the teacher. Self awareness, culture specific awareness, and effective communications (Ansley, Ervin and Davenport, 2010) are the continually highlighted needs associated with the teacher, however bar this need for understanding and self reflection the idea seem to be that any barrier or challenge can be overcome with these elements. Yet if this is the case how is it that there are still such difficulties in the management of multicultural learning scenarios.

Effective communication requires both sending messages and understanding messages that are being received. Teachers often focus on sending messages, but rarely consider understanding messages that are received. There is an extensive literature on the characteristics found to be common among those who are successful in cultural communications (Giles & Franklyn-Stokes, 1989).

Below is one studies guideline for improved cultural communications (Lynch & Hanson, 1992).

  • Respect individuals different from ourselves.
  • Make continued and sincere attempts to understand the situation/issues from others’ point of view.
  • Be open to new learning.
  • Be flexible about how to get things done or resolve issues.
  • Incorporate a sense of humour.
  • Increase your tolerance for ambiguity.
  • Approach others with a desire to learn.

But when we consider these guidelines mentioned above, is there any real difference between these and the standard guidelines for interaction from a teacher. Giles & Franklyn-Stokes introduce an interesting variation in the need to focus on the receipt of information and that even more so in a multicultural setting the need is to focus on communication rather than just the delivery of information. This brings about the concept that in a multicultural setting the class may need to be student-centric as a lecture based format might not be appropriate.

A view put forward by Schenk is that currently educators have not yet been able to develop a framework that synergistically integrates the strengths of multiple educational strategies (Schenk, 2010). Schenk believes that the curriculum is one of the primary factors currently affecting the success of multicultural learners. Traditional curricula are seen to be Anglo-centric, focusing solely on history from the dominant American culture in his study. Schenk believes that this failure is in no small part due to the fact that cultural elements were infused into instruction, rather than comprehensively overhauling the existing curriculum.

On a contrary view to Schenk, a Jones, Jones and Vermette believe that an integration of current frameworks can lead to a best practice approach you engaging all students. They believe that in integrating structures rather than overhauling the educational strategies all together, educators are provided with new strategies to motivate, inspire and achieve academic success for all students (Jones, Jones and Vermette, 2010). The approach seems to be that rather than starting from scratch the ideal scenario is to find the aspects of the strategies that complement each other which will allow for the multiple strategies to reach the diverse selection of individuals in the group. The view is that in the classroom when such instances of theory and practice amalgamate that students come to understand that learning, discovery and inquiry is not the way of school but the way of life (Jones, Jones and Vermette, 2010).

As the classroom in many learning scenarios has become more diverse it has been perceived that educators are currently presented with an entirely new set of challenges and opportunities that have been introduced to the educational system. In an attempt to address these changes and better serve the needs of all the students, it has advocated that every level of education should be substantially reformed and educators must acquire new knowledge and skills (Vescio, Bondy and Poekert, 2009). Vescio, Bondy and Poekert suggest that the call for teachers who are prepared to teach culturally diverse students demands teacher educators who are capable of preparing them. The point is that to actually apply any new changes or frameworks an educator needs to be re-educated as to the needs of a culturally diverse group. Despite the best intentions educators are likely to be restricted by a limited cross-cultural experience, understanding and their own immersion in the dominant culture of their own surroundings.

When we consider the techniques of the trainers there is a stark contrast in the belief that we need to develop an entirely new structure compared to re-education of ourselves to use the best of multiple approaches. The literature available to both shows both positives and negatives to their approaches. However the commonality would appear to be that a re-education to the individuals providing the teaching or training is unavoidable, as there needs to focus on flexibility in approach and tolerance are much more pervalant in a multicultural scenario.
Even as we can see that the focus of studies would seem to focus on the need of the student the focus of many of the studies however that do address the teachers needs simply refer to cultural competence (Ansley, Ervin and Davenport, 2010)(Leighton, 2010)(Johnson, 2010). The discussions we see are around teacher preparation yet none of these articles discuss the preparation need for the teacher. Self awareness, culture specific awareness, and effective communications (Ansley, Ervin and Davenport, 2010) are the continually highlighted needs associated with the teacher, however bar this need for understanding and self reflection the idea seem to be that any barrier or challenge can be overcome with these elements. Yet if this is the case how is it that there are still such difficulties in the management of multicultural learning scenarios.

Effective communication requires both sending messages and understanding messages that are being received. Teachers often focus on sending messages, but rarely consider understanding messages that are received. There is an extensive literature on the characteristics found to be common among those who are successful in cultural communications (Giles & Franklyn-Stokes, 1989).

Below is one studies guideline for improved cultural communications (Lynch & Hanson, 1992).

  • Respect individuals different from ourselves.
  • Make continued and sincere attempts to understand the situation/issues from others’ point of view.
  • Be open to new learning.
  • Be flexible about how to get things done or resolve issues.
  • Incorporate a sense of humour.
  • Increase your tolerance for ambiguity.
  • Approach others with a desire to learn.

But when we consider these guidelines mentioned above, is there any real difference between these and the standard guidelines for interaction from a teacher. Giles & Franklyn-Stokes introduce an interesting variation in the need to focus on the receipt of information and that even more so in a multicultural setting the need is to focus on communication rather than just the delivery of information. This brings about the concept that in a multicultural setting the class may need to be student-centric as a lecture based format might not be appropriate.

A view put forward by Schenk is that currently educators have not yet been able to develop a framework that synergistically integrates the strengths of multiple educational strategies (Schenk, 2010). Schenk believes that the curriculum is one of the primary factors currently affecting the success of multicultural learners. Traditional curricula are seen to be Anglo-centric, focusing solely on history from the dominant American culture in his study. Schenk believes that this failure is in no small part due to the fact that cultural elements were infused into instruction, rather than comprehensively overhauling the existing curriculum.

On a contrary view to Schenk, a Jones, Jones and Vermette believe that an integration of current frameworks can lead to a best practice approach you engaging all students. They believe that in integrating structures rather than overhauling the educational strategies all together, educators are provided with new strategies to motivate, inspire and achieve academic success for all students (Jones, Jones and Vermette, 2010). The approach seems to be that rather than starting from scratch the ideal scenario is to find the aspects of the strategies that complement each other which will allow for the multiple strategies to reach the diverse selection of individuals in the group. The view is that in the classroom when such instances of theory and practice amalgamate that students come to understand that learning, discovery and inquiry is not the way of school but the way of life (Jones, Jones and Vermette, 2010).

As the classroom in many learning scenarios has become more diverse it has been perceived that educators are currently presented with an entirely new set of challenges and opportunities that have been introduced to the educational system. In an attempt to address these changes and better serve the needs of all the students, it has advocated that every level of education should be substantially reformed and educators must acquire new knowledge and skills (Vescio, Bondy and Poekert, 2009). Vescio, Bondy and Poekert suggest that the call for teachers who are prepared to teach culturally diverse students demands teacher educators who are capable of preparing them. The point is that to actually apply any new changes or frameworks an educator needs to be re-educated as to the needs of a culturally diverse group. Despite the best intentions educators are likely to be restricted by a limited cross-cultural experience, understanding and their own immersion in the dominant culture of their own surroundings.

When we consider the techniques of the trainers there is a stark contrast in the belief that we need to develop an entirely new structure compared to re-education of ourselves to use the best of multiple approaches. The literature available to both shows both positives and negatives to their approaches. However the commonality would appear to be that a re-education to the individuals providing the teaching or training is unavoidable, as there needs to focus on flexibility in approach and tolerance are much more pervalant in a multicultural scenario.

Literature Review - Multicultural Perceptions


When we consider multicultural barriers, we must endeavour to see that many of these barriers are due to the perceptions of multicultural practices and even to go so far as to say that these perceptions can themselves be, or at the very least lead to barriers. One such belief is that culture has been overly focused on to the detriment of other needs (Benders, 2010). Benders states in his literature analysis that the issue is that we overstate the need for diversity acceptance in education and are fundamentally under prepared to incorporate the levels of diversity needed in our instructional design. This is in direct contrast to the beliefs of Parrish and Linder-VanBerschot and of Guirdham. 

Yet if we consider the work of Whitfield, Klug and Whitney where there was a lack of willingness to cater to each individual could be because of a lack of preparation towards the needs of the teacher. Benders’ paper indicated that an effort to infuse the system with sensitivity for cultural diversity needs to begin with teacher education. He states that in order to overcome some of the achievement gaps that we must concern ourselves with individuals rather than classes or content. The perception being that the greatest barrier we face in the multicultural scenario is our lack of understanding of it.

The work of Benders is further substantiated by that of Blumenfeld who notes the general lack of inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in the inclusion of planning towards multicultural planning (Blumenfeld, 2010). That is not to say an individual from and LGBT culture would need special attention, but rather that individuals from a culture without an LGBT culture could possibly introduce an element of heterosexism/homophobia/biphobia/transphobia to the learning environment. The primary argument put forward by multiple papers and discussed in Blumenfeld’s study is does LGBT have a place in the concept of multiculturalism, the tendency would appear to be to think of it as something more exclusive, than have it under the mantle of multiculturalism. Blumenfeld believes that the only way to overcome bigotry and stereotyping is to allow for full inclusion of LGBT issues under the umbrella of multiculturalism. Which brings about a perception that is yet to be considered, what do people not consider to be a culture? 

When we consider multicultural barriers, we must endeavour to see that many of these barriers are due to the perceptions of multicultural practices and even to go so far as to say that these perceptions can themselves be, or at the very least lead to barriers. One such belief is that culture has been overly focused on to the detriment of other needs (Benders, 2010). Benders states in his literature analysis that the issue is that we overstate the need for diversity acceptance in education and are fundamentally under prepared to incorporate the levels of diversity needed in our instructional design. This is in direct contrast to the beliefs of Parrish and Linder-VanBerschot and of Guirdham. 

Yet if we consider the work of Whitfield, Klug and Whitney where there was a lack of willingness to cater to each individual could be because of a lack of preparation towards the needs of the teacher. Benders’ paper indicated that an effort to infuse the system with sensitivity for cultural diversity needs to begin with teacher education. He states that in order to overcome some of the achievement gaps that we must concern ourselves with individuals rather than classes or content. The perception being that the greatest barrier we face in the multicultural scenario is our lack of understanding of it.

The work of Benders is further substantiated by that of Blumenfeld who notes the general lack of inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) in the inclusion of planning towards multicultural planning (Blumenfeld, 2010). That is not to say an individual from and LGBT culture would need special attention, but rather that individuals from a culture without an LGBT culture could possibly introduce an element of heterosexism/homophobia/biphobia/transphobia to the learning environment. The primary argument put forward by multiple papers and discussed in Blumenfeld’s study is does LGBT have a place in the concept of multiculturalism, the tendency would appear to be to think of it as something more exclusive, than have it under the mantle of multiculturalism. Blumenfeld believes that the only way to overcome bigotry and stereotyping is to allow for full inclusion of LGBT issues under the umbrella of multiculturalism. Which brings about a perception that is yet to be considered, what do people not consider to be a culture? 

Literature Review - Multicultural Barriers


The difficulties we initially face when we consider any scenario involving Multicultural learning partially come about due to the fact that no one can enter into a scenario without also being part of a culture themselves (Whitfield, Klug and Whitney, 2007). This means that even in culture will commonalities, there is a potential for misunderstanding because of assumptions and minor cultural differences. Guirdham explains these assumptions and differences can be related to the factors that provide meaning to a communication.
In high- context cultures (HCCs), people rely heavily on the overall situation to interpret messages and so the messages which are explicitly spoken can be elliptical; in low-context cultures (LCCs) people rely more on the explicit verbal content of messages (Guirdham, 1999).

As with personal assumptions, assumptions about other cultures or stereotyping can be a barrier to the multicultural learning environment. Yet it can also be a tool for taking a generalised approach in how a teacher can communicate to an individual in a group. Stereotyping is just another word for overgeneralization (Scollon and Scollon, 2001), Scollon and Scollon argue that the difference is that stereotyping carries with it and ideological position, this is to say that they are not only used to apply to the group but are also taken to have some exaggerated negative or positive value. The negative aspect they go on to explain is that stereotyping limits understanding of human behaviour and intercultural discourse because they limit the view of the individuals in a group to one or two significant dimensions. Scollon and Scollon describe this in relation to communication stating that there is a risk to status and esteem of both people involved in any scenario. Guirdham relates to this in his research regarding discrimination in a similar light to the negative aspects of stereotyping and in losing face stated by Scollon and Scollon. Guirdham comments that this behaviour creates a barrier to communication with not only with the victims but to all individuals who observe and condemn it (Guirdham, 1999). Some educators may choose to identify these biases as a starting point however and use them to create a more justice orientated thinking as the expectation of discrimination is already there with the teacher (Miretzky, 2010). Does this in itself create a stereotype thought, as on one side the teacher may be being prepared to deal with discrimination yet in preparing for it has set precedence for it to exist?

In a study by Molesevich and Stefanou in 2010 on the perspective of a group of Spanish-speaking students and how their cultural relationships with school personnel, affected their attitudes and insights about education. Eight Hispanic high school students were participants in a qualitative research where they answered questions about their educational experiences, specifically their relationships with teachers and educational support resources, educational opportunities, and degree of cultural awareness at school (Molesevich and Stefanou, 2010). This a particularly relevant example as due to the select criteria needed a small sample size is used in the research, this is similar to the needs of our research as we will be looking at subject matter experts and a potentially small sample size. The study recognises the limitation of the small sample size group however and explains that further analysis and research may resolve further or even different data.

In identifying the barriers Whitfield, Klug and Whitney in their research that there may be a disconnect between the cultural values and identities of the teacher and those of the class. The research states that the challenge for educators, particularly in western nations, is to understand the complexity of educational dynamics in multicultural classrooms, to examine their own experiences with multicultural groups especially regarding culture, race, ethnicity and social class (Whitfield, Klug and Whitney, 2007). Although this study is aimed at understanding and developing interpersonal communication skills the focus is more on identifying cultural mismatches between student and teacher rather than overcoming them. The most notable aspect of this study however is the noted tendency towards favourable attitudes about diversity yet an unfavourable view towards needing to meet a student’s unique needs. This view can lead to a contrast between willingness for a multicultural learning scenario but a lack of desire to cater to each individual in the class which relates back to the multicultural definitions of acceptance of culture being the basis of the multicultural learning scenario.

In identifying the barriers to education though we need to consider the possibility that some differences may be irreconcilable. Whitfield, Klug and Whitney consider that there may be a lack of willingness or even ability on the part of the teacher to cater to each individual student in a learning scenario. In Ramaekers’ article in on multicultural education he clearly states that it is a case that some differences are irreconcilable, but claims the challenge for a curriculum in multicultural education is to give the other culture a place without placing it (Ramaekers, 2010). Again this provides the view that it is not necessarily about catering or adjusting a teachers approach to the class but rather that it is best to accept the variety of cultures and understand the constraints and limits of teachers own cultural background in a classroom setting.

This is further supported but the research of Schwieger, Gros & Barberan who refer to the current multicultural scenarios for learning as a marketplace of both contrasting and coexisting ideas and cultures (Schwieger, Gros & Barberan, 2010). They go on to say that this change is in both educator and learner, and will allow educational institutions to become forums where remarkable ideas emerge and intersect from the variety or approaches from the participants if individuality is encouraged. The concern initially was that all with a mono-cultural background that it could be a hindrance and even a source of insecurity in delivery of the training yet in practice it was found to be an invaluable component in creating an interactive, learning experience for both educator and learner. This has been identified by other studies as a benefit especially in the question and answer format in a classroom to promote communication and discussion (Gagliardi, 1996).

An article by Parrish and Linder-VanBerschot presents cultural differences in the cultural dimensions of learning framework, which goes about describing a set of eight cultural parameters regarding social relationships, epistemological beliefs and temporal perceptions, illustrating their variability as they might be exhibited in educational scenarios (Parrish, Linder-VanBerschot, 2010). While no attempt is made in the article to classify cultures according to these dimensions they do provide substantial demonstration of how specific national and regional cultures vary.

In single cross-cultural instances, in which instruction is being designed for a culturally homogeneous set of students but from a culture different than that of the instructional provider, accommodation should include as much adaptation as possible based on the cultural analysis, without compromising the fidelity of the content and underlying necessary instructional principles (Parrish, Linder- VanBerschot, 2010).
The article instead chooses to stress the spectrums of variability rather than the generalized differences between cultures. The focus of the article is to consider accommodation as a means to reach the class on a common ground and even go so far as to say that the offering of alternatives is perceived primarily to be the best method of accommodation of a multicultural group.

What we can see from the current literature is that the culture that can impact the training is not just that of the participants themselves, but of the trainer too. Stereotyping can work both ways and is not necessarily a negative aspect to be involved in training if appropriately used. They can in fact bring a closer relationship and understanding between student and teacher. The important element to consider is that they should not be used in a negative light with negative connotations as this can reflect badly on both the individual targeted and the trainer themselves. When we consider the barriers to multicultural training we need to look at both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. 

The difficulties we initially face when we consider any scenario involving Multicultural learning partially come about due to the fact that no one can enter into a scenario without also being part of a culture themselves (Whitfield, Klug and Whitney, 2007). This means that even in culture will commonalities, there is a potential for misunderstanding because of assumptions and minor cultural differences. Guirdham explains these assumptions and differences can be related to the factors that provide meaning to a communication.
In high- context cultures (HCCs), people rely heavily on the overall situation to interpret messages and so the messages which are explicitly spoken can be elliptical; in low-context cultures (LCCs) people rely more on the explicit verbal content of messages (Guirdham, 1999).

As with personal assumptions, assumptions about other cultures or stereotyping can be a barrier to the multicultural learning environment. Yet it can also be a tool for taking a generalised approach in how a teacher can communicate to an individual in a group. Stereotyping is just another word for overgeneralization (Scollon and Scollon, 2001), Scollon and Scollon argue that the difference is that stereotyping carries with it and ideological position, this is to say that they are not only used to apply to the group but are also taken to have some exaggerated negative or positive value. The negative aspect they go on to explain is that stereotyping limits understanding of human behaviour and intercultural discourse because they limit the view of the individuals in a group to one or two significant dimensions. Scollon and Scollon describe this in relation to communication stating that there is a risk to status and esteem of both people involved in any scenario. Guirdham relates to this in his research regarding discrimination in a similar light to the negative aspects of stereotyping and in losing face stated by Scollon and Scollon. Guirdham comments that this behaviour creates a barrier to communication with not only with the victims but to all individuals who observe and condemn it (Guirdham, 1999). Some educators may choose to identify these biases as a starting point however and use them to create a more justice orientated thinking as the expectation of discrimination is already there with the teacher (Miretzky, 2010). Does this in itself create a stereotype thought, as on one side the teacher may be being prepared to deal with discrimination yet in preparing for it has set precedence for it to exist?

In a study by Molesevich and Stefanou in 2010 on the perspective of a group of Spanish-speaking students and how their cultural relationships with school personnel, affected their attitudes and insights about education. Eight Hispanic high school students were participants in a qualitative research where they answered questions about their educational experiences, specifically their relationships with teachers and educational support resources, educational opportunities, and degree of cultural awareness at school (Molesevich and Stefanou, 2010). This a particularly relevant example as due to the select criteria needed a small sample size is used in the research, this is similar to the needs of our research as we will be looking at subject matter experts and a potentially small sample size. The study recognises the limitation of the small sample size group however and explains that further analysis and research may resolve further or even different data.

In identifying the barriers Whitfield, Klug and Whitney in their research that there may be a disconnect between the cultural values and identities of the teacher and those of the class. The research states that the challenge for educators, particularly in western nations, is to understand the complexity of educational dynamics in multicultural classrooms, to examine their own experiences with multicultural groups especially regarding culture, race, ethnicity and social class (Whitfield, Klug and Whitney, 2007). Although this study is aimed at understanding and developing interpersonal communication skills the focus is more on identifying cultural mismatches between student and teacher rather than overcoming them. The most notable aspect of this study however is the noted tendency towards favourable attitudes about diversity yet an unfavourable view towards needing to meet a student’s unique needs. This view can lead to a contrast between willingness for a multicultural learning scenario but a lack of desire to cater to each individual in the class which relates back to the multicultural definitions of acceptance of culture being the basis of the multicultural learning scenario.

In identifying the barriers to education though we need to consider the possibility that some differences may be irreconcilable. Whitfield, Klug and Whitney consider that there may be a lack of willingness or even ability on the part of the teacher to cater to each individual student in a learning scenario. In Ramaekers’ article in on multicultural education he clearly states that it is a case that some differences are irreconcilable, but claims the challenge for a curriculum in multicultural education is to give the other culture a place without placing it (Ramaekers, 2010). Again this provides the view that it is not necessarily about catering or adjusting a teachers approach to the class but rather that it is best to accept the variety of cultures and understand the constraints and limits of teachers own cultural background in a classroom setting.

This is further supported but the research of Schwieger, Gros & Barberan who refer to the current multicultural scenarios for learning as a marketplace of both contrasting and coexisting ideas and cultures (Schwieger, Gros & Barberan, 2010). They go on to say that this change is in both educator and learner, and will allow educational institutions to become forums where remarkable ideas emerge and intersect from the variety or approaches from the participants if individuality is encouraged. The concern initially was that all with a mono-cultural background that it could be a hindrance and even a source of insecurity in delivery of the training yet in practice it was found to be an invaluable component in creating an interactive, learning experience for both educator and learner. This has been identified by other studies as a benefit especially in the question and answer format in a classroom to promote communication and discussion (Gagliardi, 1996).

An article by Parrish and Linder-VanBerschot presents cultural differences in the cultural dimensions of learning framework, which goes about describing a set of eight cultural parameters regarding social relationships, epistemological beliefs and temporal perceptions, illustrating their variability as they might be exhibited in educational scenarios (Parrish, Linder-VanBerschot, 2010). While no attempt is made in the article to classify cultures according to these dimensions they do provide substantial demonstration of how specific national and regional cultures vary.

In single cross-cultural instances, in which instruction is being designed for a culturally homogeneous set of students but from a culture different than that of the instructional provider, accommodation should include as much adaptation as possible based on the cultural analysis, without compromising the fidelity of the content and underlying necessary instructional principles (Parrish, Linder- VanBerschot, 2010).
The article instead chooses to stress the spectrums of variability rather than the generalized differences between cultures. The focus of the article is to consider accommodation as a means to reach the class on a common ground and even go so far as to say that the offering of alternatives is perceived primarily to be the best method of accommodation of a multicultural group.

What we can see from the current literature is that the culture that can impact the training is not just that of the participants themselves, but of the trainer too. Stereotyping can work both ways and is not necessarily a negative aspect to be involved in training if appropriately used. They can in fact bring a closer relationship and understanding between student and teacher. The important element to consider is that they should not be used in a negative light with negative connotations as this can reflect badly on both the individual targeted and the trainer themselves. When we consider the barriers to multicultural training we need to look at both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. 

Literature Review - Multicultural Definitions


In understanding the barriers to multicultural training we must understand the multicultural environment in itself. Investigation into the current academic and professional literature on the multicultural environments currently would appear to trend into the direction of two key research areas, communication and management. There is a limited supply of research into the effect of cross-cultural or multi-cultural learning and what is there is for immigrants and youth orientated learning.


Culture itself has many definitions. A basic definition of the term would be a historically transmitted system of symbols, meanings and norms (Guirdham, 1999). Whilst Kendall and Wickham explain culture in the following way:

Refers to the way of life of a group, including the meanings, the transmissions communication and alteration of those meanings (Kendall and Wickham, 2001).

Guirdham gives us a definition that is very broad in its scope and view, Kendall and Wickham can be seen to describe for us that culture is not an abstract entity but rather as a basic part of our everyday social interactions. This gives us a more tangible definition and understanding of the term in itself. Kendall and Wickham also go forward to describe how that culture is one of the names given to the different ways people go about ordering the world. Initially the term culture can be hard to lay down with a strict definition but from the similarities between these definitions we see that it can be an outline for understanding an individual’s personal experiences in life.

So in understanding culture as a definition, it has been explained as the realm of symbol and meanings (Berger, 1991). This is to say it is a collection of signs, symbols and meaning and we can therefore describe multicultural settings as a scenario where these elements may vary between all the participants. Newspapers have been used as an example of culture as a system of symbolic representation. They are not only different in terms of how and what news is reported, but also in terms of the papers values, standards, approaches to social and so on (McQuail, 2000).

Although the general consensus towards multiculturalism in education is about bringing in people together and appreciating the individualism of all participants it has been argued on occasion that prevalent forms of multicultural education are separatist and divisive in nature, irrational, inequitable, and can cause conflict (Peariso, 2010). Peariso goes on to say that “a unifying brand of multicultural education is offered as an alternative which builds on commonalities, can alleviate conflict, fosters academic achievement for all students, and is built on Christian principles” however. This is to say that Peariso does not assume to say Multiculturalism does not work but rather that it is not always effective in how it is currently applied. Peariso found in prior research that when teachers endeavour to learn about culture in the company of diverse colleagues, minority races and ethnicities were assumed to be cultural experts. This in turn he believes limits the ability of those involved to communicate naturally and inhibits the overall group learning experience, it is claimed in critical race theory that the only way to end this discrimination in the educational setting, is to dispute and displace the prevalent culture. So to truly have a multicultural environment there must not be a singular culture used as a base or starting place for all to explain their own culture around.

Further research describes being culturally competent as frequently discussing at length and with consistency how to engage, educate, understand and lead multicultural populations (Johnson, 2010). Johnson begins by realising multiculturalism can mean different things to different people, yet to develop our understanding of it there must be a commonality of how we approach and talk about it. In the research Johnson claims that, multicultural educators and the professionals trained to teach diversity would face these same challenges in creating consensus by trying to define what multicultural education means in a learning environment. Johnson for her research takes a singular definition to use for the discussion, an excerpt from the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME):

Cultural Competence 4 Multicultural education is a philosophical concept built on the ideals of freedom, justice, equality, equity, and human dignity. Multicultural education is a process that means to ensure the highest levels of academic achievement for all students while developing a positive self- concept from knowledge about the histories, cultures, and contributions of diverse groups for their responsibilities in an interdependent world (NAME, 2003).

Further on Johnson also references Hanley who claims that multicultural education has the capacity to address the educational needs of a society that continues to struggle with the realization it is not monocultural in any aspect (Hanley, 1999). This can be perceived to contrast quite strongly with the definition from NAME and it is a much more pessimistic view of multiculturalism. NAME sees multiculturalism as an endeavour and development, whilst Hanley interprets multiculturalism as something that people have already failed at and needs to be improved.

In the study of multiculturalism, cultural competencies are an important view of how the teacher’s skills are perceived in relation to multicultural learning. Cultural competencies relate to the characteristics currently perceived as being necessary for a teacher to manage in a multicultural environment. These characteristics can include awareness, knowledge, and skills (Leighton, 2010). Leighton’s study goes to say that as the diversity of students within school populations continues to grow, so does the need for teachers to provide cultural competence in their programming. The importance of cultural competence for the teachers is ever increasing as an essential part in the delivery of information. This study is one of the closest found to relate to the teachers perspective on how they manage in a multicultural environment. However the stand point of the research is to address the necessary skills for the teacher to have to facilitate the class’s multicultural nature, without taking into account the need to accommodate to the teachers perspective. The view of, if the skills are present there should be no barriers to the trainer, seems to be a predominant theme in the literature, but this involves an assumption that the skills are the only barrier to the training for the person delivering it. The research recognises the limitations however as even though Leighton managed to survey 120 teachers she says “the results are limited by the participant’s responses” and goes on to say Future research could use more advanced sub-categories to focus on the particular type and duration of cultural competency workshops. This relates to the plan of our research to focus on a smaller target audience with particular attention to the answers of the interviewee. 

In understanding the barriers to multicultural training we must understand the multicultural environment in itself. Investigation into the current academic and professional literature on the multicultural environments currently would appear to trend into the direction of two key research areas, communication and management. There is a limited supply of research into the effect of cross-cultural or multi-cultural learning and what is there is for immigrants and youth orientated learning.


Culture itself has many definitions. A basic definition of the term would be a historically transmitted system of symbols, meanings and norms (Guirdham, 1999). Whilst Kendall and Wickham explain culture in the following way:

Refers to the way of life of a group, including the meanings, the transmissions communication and alteration of those meanings (Kendall and Wickham, 2001).

Guirdham gives us a definition that is very broad in its scope and view, Kendall and Wickham can be seen to describe for us that culture is not an abstract entity but rather as a basic part of our everyday social interactions. This gives us a more tangible definition and understanding of the term in itself. Kendall and Wickham also go forward to describe how that culture is one of the names given to the different ways people go about ordering the world. Initially the term culture can be hard to lay down with a strict definition but from the similarities between these definitions we see that it can be an outline for understanding an individual’s personal experiences in life.

So in understanding culture as a definition, it has been explained as the realm of symbol and meanings (Berger, 1991). This is to say it is a collection of signs, symbols and meaning and we can therefore describe multicultural settings as a scenario where these elements may vary between all the participants. Newspapers have been used as an example of culture as a system of symbolic representation. They are not only different in terms of how and what news is reported, but also in terms of the papers values, standards, approaches to social and so on (McQuail, 2000).

Although the general consensus towards multiculturalism in education is about bringing in people together and appreciating the individualism of all participants it has been argued on occasion that prevalent forms of multicultural education are separatist and divisive in nature, irrational, inequitable, and can cause conflict (Peariso, 2010). Peariso goes on to say that “a unifying brand of multicultural education is offered as an alternative which builds on commonalities, can alleviate conflict, fosters academic achievement for all students, and is built on Christian principles” however. This is to say that Peariso does not assume to say Multiculturalism does not work but rather that it is not always effective in how it is currently applied. Peariso found in prior research that when teachers endeavour to learn about culture in the company of diverse colleagues, minority races and ethnicities were assumed to be cultural experts. This in turn he believes limits the ability of those involved to communicate naturally and inhibits the overall group learning experience, it is claimed in critical race theory that the only way to end this discrimination in the educational setting, is to dispute and displace the prevalent culture. So to truly have a multicultural environment there must not be a singular culture used as a base or starting place for all to explain their own culture around.

Further research describes being culturally competent as frequently discussing at length and with consistency how to engage, educate, understand and lead multicultural populations (Johnson, 2010). Johnson begins by realising multiculturalism can mean different things to different people, yet to develop our understanding of it there must be a commonality of how we approach and talk about it. In the research Johnson claims that, multicultural educators and the professionals trained to teach diversity would face these same challenges in creating consensus by trying to define what multicultural education means in a learning environment. Johnson for her research takes a singular definition to use for the discussion, an excerpt from the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME):

Cultural Competence 4 Multicultural education is a philosophical concept built on the ideals of freedom, justice, equality, equity, and human dignity. Multicultural education is a process that means to ensure the highest levels of academic achievement for all students while developing a positive self- concept from knowledge about the histories, cultures, and contributions of diverse groups for their responsibilities in an interdependent world (NAME, 2003).

Further on Johnson also references Hanley who claims that multicultural education has the capacity to address the educational needs of a society that continues to struggle with the realization it is not monocultural in any aspect (Hanley, 1999). This can be perceived to contrast quite strongly with the definition from NAME and it is a much more pessimistic view of multiculturalism. NAME sees multiculturalism as an endeavour and development, whilst Hanley interprets multiculturalism as something that people have already failed at and needs to be improved.

In the study of multiculturalism, cultural competencies are an important view of how the teacher’s skills are perceived in relation to multicultural learning. Cultural competencies relate to the characteristics currently perceived as being necessary for a teacher to manage in a multicultural environment. These characteristics can include awareness, knowledge, and skills (Leighton, 2010). Leighton’s study goes to say that as the diversity of students within school populations continues to grow, so does the need for teachers to provide cultural competence in their programming. The importance of cultural competence for the teachers is ever increasing as an essential part in the delivery of information. This study is one of the closest found to relate to the teachers perspective on how they manage in a multicultural environment. However the stand point of the research is to address the necessary skills for the teacher to have to facilitate the class’s multicultural nature, without taking into account the need to accommodate to the teachers perspective. The view of, if the skills are present there should be no barriers to the trainer, seems to be a predominant theme in the literature, but this involves an assumption that the skills are the only barrier to the training for the person delivering it. The research recognises the limitations however as even though Leighton managed to survey 120 teachers she says “the results are limited by the participant’s responses” and goes on to say Future research could use more advanced sub-categories to focus on the particular type and duration of cultural competency workshops. This relates to the plan of our research to focus on a smaller target audience with particular attention to the answers of the interviewee. 

What are the barriers facing the Trainer in the multicultural business training environment?


The discussions of multicultural barriers are an immense and broad topic of discussion in the worlds of both education and business. The term multicultural in its self is so all encompassing that it in fact not as clearly defined as it would initially appear. When we say multicultural the majority of people consider this to mean multinational, which is of course a major principle and consideration of multicultural principles and especially for training purposes, yet multicultural education and research has been seen to go so far as to encompass considerations towards economic backgrounds, social status and even sexual orientation on occasion.

When considering a realistic view of a trainer or teacher in modern business environments, they will not have knowledge or even access to information about an individual’s economic background or sexual orientation for both professional courtesy and legal reasons. However if considering multicultural needs they will predominantly focus on the multinational aspect and approaches. It is important to define this perception now as this is to be the key element of the research area and how individuals possibly perceive multiculturalism. The goal of multiculturalism is to appreciate and accept multiple cultures in a specific place or organization. In this sense multiculturalism is a means towards respect for diversity, which means for a trainer that all individual approaches and ideals from training participants must be taken into consideration. 

This can make a huge difference to the needs of the individuals in training when we consider aspects like, did the participant come from a background of teacher-centric or student-centric learning?, or are they more accustomed to active participation compared to others who prefer lecturing scenarios? We also must consider the more obvious barriers to the class of language skills and usage, accents of the person delivering the training and colloquialisms that can be used by the trainer themselves.


The current research undertaken into multiculturalism and multicultural barriers would lean towards a view centred on student perceptions and challenges. These types of research tend to be, what are the challenges that a specific ethic group may face in a learning scenario? The details also seem to be taken from an American or English perspective towards education, or at least from a native English speaking perspective with a western educational view towards learning. What about the trainers themselves in this type of learning scenario? What do the trainers perceive to be the challenges and barriers to the delivery of their training? If we look at trainers who are themselves of multicultural backgrounds are there similarities in the challenges they face? We will consider these aspects whilst also looking into a various multinational views on this research.

To these ends the use of subject matter experts will be called into use for this research, so as not to be limited to English or American delivery and to compare and contrast the views of trainers who are themselves facing on occasion their own cultural barriers. This will allow for an insight into the actual individuals who work and have experience in these scenarios and how they themselves perceive the barriers to their delivery. It has been said that ‘despite the fact that both learning styles and cross-cultural differences have been important research topics for decades, surprisingly little work has been done on comparisons of learning behaviour across cultures and its impact for teachers working in culturally mixed settings’(Palfreyman & McBride, 2007).

The reasoning for this research is to investigate the real barriers to the trainer, which from the previous research done when amalgamated and reviewed would give the perception that it is not language being the primary barrier but in fact the perception of information depending on how and to whom it is delivered. The idea behind this is that the different people, depending on their cultural setting, would relate to information in different ways and with no adjustment to their culture they could come to different individual interpretations (Kendall and Wickham, 2001). Whilst a trainer will have specific learning objectives of which they wish to have the audience to be able to leave the training with, this for business is even more important as the need for component trained staff is essential to maintain a professional standard and competitive edge.

Stereotypes would also appear to play a predominant part in preparation of these trainings as it is an alleged method of which to meet the needs of an audience without having an actual understanding of the person’s background. In saying this it may not be the best way to actually manage a group like this as it may still isolate individuals who do not conform to these supposed social norms, and also when we consider the general social stigma attached to stereotypes and them being used how can they be deemed as appropriate for educational needs.

Both of these considerations themselves could insinuate that trainers when planning a training scenario may actually deliver the training in a different way than how they conscientiously planned it out. Trainers would appear to be able to adjust to a singular ethic group and consider language to be a barrier in both singular and mixed group scenarios, but resort to use of stereotypes when actually managing the class and the initial approach to the students themselves. Only later during the training can the trainer identify the actual people and their personal needs in the training session. From a trainers perspective which we are taking to be the main focus of this research we are going to consider the barriers including the stereotypes attached to them and how they need to compensate for them. To account for this we will be using a base of multicultural trainers who themselves are of a mixed cultural background.

The trainer needs to identify the needs of the group the question that is proposed is, what are the barriers that prevent the trainer in delivering their training in business environments? and how they perceive these barriers personally. We will see if the different cultures of the trainers themselves bring about any specific challenges or if the challenges presented are of common themes throughout the trainers regardless of personal ethnic backgrounds or business scenario.

The aim is to see how trainers perceive the barriers facing them in providing students with information consistently across multiple cultures in a singular delivery scenario, also to gain possible insight and understanding of how the trainers currently facilitate an integrated learning experience that does not exclude any of the class due to their societal and cultural background as how people learn can be greatly dependent on their prior experience of learning from their own culture, especially in tertiary and adult education, our concern is however the business environment. We will review existing literature on individual and cultural differences among students and how these are currently perceived, how these differences affect students learning and beliefs about education, although our goal is to identify how these differences are barriers to the trainers themselves.

During the research we will search for data on the methods used by the trainers, in addition to how and if the trainers devise learning strategies or personal approaches that address individual differences and that influence the learners experience helping to progress them to the learning objectives intended by the trainer. The research undertaken will assess the recognition from the trainer of cultural differences in learning and how trainers provide a meaningful learning environment for a range of individual and cultural differences. 

The discussions of multicultural barriers are an immense and broad topic of discussion in the worlds of both education and business. The term multicultural in its self is so all encompassing that it in fact not as clearly defined as it would initially appear. When we say multicultural the majority of people consider this to mean multinational, which is of course a major principle and consideration of multicultural principles and especially for training purposes, yet multicultural education and research has been seen to go so far as to encompass considerations towards economic backgrounds, social status and even sexual orientation on occasion.

When considering a realistic view of a trainer or teacher in modern business environments, they will not have knowledge or even access to information about an individual’s economic background or sexual orientation for both professional courtesy and legal reasons. However if considering multicultural needs they will predominantly focus on the multinational aspect and approaches. It is important to define this perception now as this is to be the key element of the research area and how individuals possibly perceive multiculturalism. The goal of multiculturalism is to appreciate and accept multiple cultures in a specific place or organization. In this sense multiculturalism is a means towards respect for diversity, which means for a trainer that all individual approaches and ideals from training participants must be taken into consideration. 

This can make a huge difference to the needs of the individuals in training when we consider aspects like, did the participant come from a background of teacher-centric or student-centric learning?, or are they more accustomed to active participation compared to others who prefer lecturing scenarios? We also must consider the more obvious barriers to the class of language skills and usage, accents of the person delivering the training and colloquialisms that can be used by the trainer themselves.


The current research undertaken into multiculturalism and multicultural barriers would lean towards a view centred on student perceptions and challenges. These types of research tend to be, what are the challenges that a specific ethic group may face in a learning scenario? The details also seem to be taken from an American or English perspective towards education, or at least from a native English speaking perspective with a western educational view towards learning. What about the trainers themselves in this type of learning scenario? What do the trainers perceive to be the challenges and barriers to the delivery of their training? If we look at trainers who are themselves of multicultural backgrounds are there similarities in the challenges they face? We will consider these aspects whilst also looking into a various multinational views on this research.

To these ends the use of subject matter experts will be called into use for this research, so as not to be limited to English or American delivery and to compare and contrast the views of trainers who are themselves facing on occasion their own cultural barriers. This will allow for an insight into the actual individuals who work and have experience in these scenarios and how they themselves perceive the barriers to their delivery. It has been said that ‘despite the fact that both learning styles and cross-cultural differences have been important research topics for decades, surprisingly little work has been done on comparisons of learning behaviour across cultures and its impact for teachers working in culturally mixed settings’(Palfreyman & McBride, 2007).

The reasoning for this research is to investigate the real barriers to the trainer, which from the previous research done when amalgamated and reviewed would give the perception that it is not language being the primary barrier but in fact the perception of information depending on how and to whom it is delivered. The idea behind this is that the different people, depending on their cultural setting, would relate to information in different ways and with no adjustment to their culture they could come to different individual interpretations (Kendall and Wickham, 2001). Whilst a trainer will have specific learning objectives of which they wish to have the audience to be able to leave the training with, this for business is even more important as the need for component trained staff is essential to maintain a professional standard and competitive edge.

Stereotypes would also appear to play a predominant part in preparation of these trainings as it is an alleged method of which to meet the needs of an audience without having an actual understanding of the person’s background. In saying this it may not be the best way to actually manage a group like this as it may still isolate individuals who do not conform to these supposed social norms, and also when we consider the general social stigma attached to stereotypes and them being used how can they be deemed as appropriate for educational needs.

Both of these considerations themselves could insinuate that trainers when planning a training scenario may actually deliver the training in a different way than how they conscientiously planned it out. Trainers would appear to be able to adjust to a singular ethic group and consider language to be a barrier in both singular and mixed group scenarios, but resort to use of stereotypes when actually managing the class and the initial approach to the students themselves. Only later during the training can the trainer identify the actual people and their personal needs in the training session. From a trainers perspective which we are taking to be the main focus of this research we are going to consider the barriers including the stereotypes attached to them and how they need to compensate for them. To account for this we will be using a base of multicultural trainers who themselves are of a mixed cultural background.

The trainer needs to identify the needs of the group the question that is proposed is, what are the barriers that prevent the trainer in delivering their training in business environments? and how they perceive these barriers personally. We will see if the different cultures of the trainers themselves bring about any specific challenges or if the challenges presented are of common themes throughout the trainers regardless of personal ethnic backgrounds or business scenario.

The aim is to see how trainers perceive the barriers facing them in providing students with information consistently across multiple cultures in a singular delivery scenario, also to gain possible insight and understanding of how the trainers currently facilitate an integrated learning experience that does not exclude any of the class due to their societal and cultural background as how people learn can be greatly dependent on their prior experience of learning from their own culture, especially in tertiary and adult education, our concern is however the business environment. We will review existing literature on individual and cultural differences among students and how these are currently perceived, how these differences affect students learning and beliefs about education, although our goal is to identify how these differences are barriers to the trainers themselves.

During the research we will search for data on the methods used by the trainers, in addition to how and if the trainers devise learning strategies or personal approaches that address individual differences and that influence the learners experience helping to progress them to the learning objectives intended by the trainer. The research undertaken will assess the recognition from the trainer of cultural differences in learning and how trainers provide a meaningful learning environment for a range of individual and cultural differences. 

Introduction to what are the barriers facing the Trainer in the multicultural business training environment?

What are the barriers facing the Trainer in the multicultural business training environment?

In the formal business training environment it can be a challenge to reach a culturally mixed class, the difficulty is taking into account educational, sociological and environmental backgrounds for each individual and even the most adaptive training will not always reach everyone. There is as yet no key methodology or best practice structure in regular use for the business environment on how to approach this sort of training scenario. Yet this is more of a prominent concern in modern work environments than ever, as with the growth of globalisation and the influence of communication technologies the world can be perceived as becoming a continually smaller place and the physical barriers to mixed culture environments becoming less and less existent. What we appear to see however is that the cultural barriers themselves still seem to remain in the understanding and approaches to learning.

Is it possible that in the world of formal business training we can reach a cross-cultural group, without the need for extreme adaptation towards individuals in the audience or a one to one focus? To see if this is possible we must first identify the recurrent barriers and the needs of the trainer in providing training to these culturally diverse groups.

We can investigate multicultural training using the appropriate principles and terminology and to see if we can identify the principle cultural barriers that a trainer can face which negatively impact the learning and development of individuals in the mixed culture learning environment, with the intention that they can be used to further develop an understanding of how to overcome them going forward. 


What are the barriers facing the Trainer in the multicultural business training environment?

In the formal business training environment it can be a challenge to reach a culturally mixed class, the difficulty is taking into account educational, sociological and environmental backgrounds for each individual and even the most adaptive training will not always reach everyone. There is as yet no key methodology or best practice structure in regular use for the business environment on how to approach this sort of training scenario. Yet this is more of a prominent concern in modern work environments than ever, as with the growth of globalisation and the influence of communication technologies the world can be perceived as becoming a continually smaller place and the physical barriers to mixed culture environments becoming less and less existent. What we appear to see however is that the cultural barriers themselves still seem to remain in the understanding and approaches to learning.

Is it possible that in the world of formal business training we can reach a cross-cultural group, without the need for extreme adaptation towards individuals in the audience or a one to one focus? To see if this is possible we must first identify the recurrent barriers and the needs of the trainer in providing training to these culturally diverse groups.

We can investigate multicultural training using the appropriate principles and terminology and to see if we can identify the principle cultural barriers that a trainer can face which negatively impact the learning and development of individuals in the mixed culture learning environment, with the intention that they can be used to further develop an understanding of how to overcome them going forward. 


Educational Assessment – why bother?




In the realm of education there is a variety of pedagogic strategies and theories, but to substantiate these we must have a proven form of validation to assure both the success of the educational experience itself and verify the learning outcomes of the student themselves. We may find, however, that students and even on occasion educators may not see the point of an assessment as part of a course feeling that merely the participation is enough. So why should we validate their knowledge?

For this matter to be overcome we must justify the validation itself, but from various readings the issue would appear to sometimes arise from the usage of the wrong assessment type (Gibbs & Simpson 2005). The challenge in using these assessments is to find the right assessment to validate the learning experience since the assessments need to match the measurement of the intended outcomes and be an appropriate means of testing for the audience. For instance a validation for a school student may not be appropriate to use in a professional environment.

In an educational setting, assessment is traditionally used as a form of validation of the students’ work and development. We most commonly see this used in an empirical manner where the goal is to assess components of the knowledge, around a rote learning form of strategy. The idea being that the students have memorised and absorbed the information given to them and can regurgitate it in a test environment. This can be seen to relate in its approach to Skinner and his behaviourist theories (Skinner 1979) when the output is that of automated response, or even similar to Gagne on a much deeper level where he describes this in his nine events of instruction (Gagne 1974) with stage 8 – ‘Assess Performance’, to lead from the ability to simply regurgitate the information to ‘Enhance Retention’ of the knowledge itself in his final stage. This is a summative approach to assessment.


However in a higher education learning environments we tend to see the focus of the assessment brought away from the traditional empirical methods and more geared towards an ideal of involvement and participation. This could be due to the fact that school education is education with a purpose of getting you ready to pass a state exam, so development comes secondary to an empirical result. Whilst further and higher educations are mostly aimed at developing you to function in a working environment where continual growth and collaboration are generally most sought after than rote memorisation skills.
With this in mind we can see that the assessment that are created try to be more open in their approach for these higher learning institutes. We see a focus on rationalisation rather than memorisation where the student now needs to research for themselves and develop according to their own interests and the ability to rationalise and discuss their findings is the main area of importance. The assessments can now be varied and a formative approach can be seen to show the students’ knowledge and understanding, using ideas from portfolios and participation based assessments where we can now gain an overview of development or even break it down into increments of development.

In these formative scenarios where we can see development happening through the stages, the idea is that we can assess the quality of the students’ achievements whilst they are still in the process of learning. This is to say that although the students are being tested on their performance, the test itself may be open-ended. In the formative scenario, the student cannot know too much, obviously a limit can be reached in the time frame but the limit is set by the student and their involvement, this is in direct opposition to summative where the goal is to achieve only the designated levels to be tested. This could, in turn, be nearly perceived as putting a cap on the education of the student. e.g. “in learning this course material and that is all you will need to know to pass the exam”. This isn’t to say summative doesn’t have its own benefits, we will touch on later, but it puts to question, how or even do we match our assessment to out desired learning outcomes.

Assessment is by no means limited to the academic environment; in industry there are many valid reasons for us to use assessment on a regular basis, from initial interviewing to progression and development; these again tend to be a mixture of formative and summative assessments dependent on the area needing to be gauged.

A summative assessment in these situations may not just be a knowledge test, for example we can see these being a technical test in applying for a computer job role or a maths skill test for an actuarial position. In some circumstances though we may use a language test to assess an individual’s skill with a language before being brought into work in a multicultural environment; even though an interview scenario may be more beneficial it is not always a feasible solution due to time constraints and location considerations, but in deciding our appropriate assessment method we do consider if they are at an appropriate level for the business? The difference in this sort of scenario is we as a business consider that the assessment is a tool, unlike the academic environment, used not to see the limits of the individual knowledge but to see if they have the skill level required to work in the business, which is why the summative approach is just as effective and in fact more cost and time effective.

In a developmental direction however we can see in some creative careers how an ongoing portfolio of work is kept to display not just one’s ability but a timeframe over how they have changed. This was commonly seen in an art and design career, but now is used in a technical role, to display a history of software development, for example. Some roles will now go so far as to develop entire training structures to build an individual for a role. In these, from my own experience in the industry, the student keeps an ongoing portfolio of work and development and completes a final testing as well. This shows the potential for development of the individual whilst showing a definitive knowledge of certain areas. All this is aimed to be done within reason of the role; however, in certain areas, an individual would need to know direct from memory, in others they would have time to research. To assure the candidate is properly versed in this the testing must be appropriately matched to the intended skills.

I have mentioned the point of finding the right assessment for matching the learning targets but how do we do this? There seems to be no set instruction on how to approach the matter, but there are noted considerations on how we should broach the subject. For instance a primary concern as mentioned above is to be clear in you targets, a well defined outcome is essential in directing towards the correct assessment. There are two perspectives to this point, the students and the educators. Does the assessment technique benefit the student and consider, does the proposed assessment method actually prove a knowledge or understanding of the topic for the educator to assess them? As noted for some business scenarios an assessment does not necessarily need to be a benefit but rather a method of skill testing. This is also a consideration, why create a portfolio when all you need is to know the person has a basic understanding? It’s of no benefit to either party and creates undue work.

When we say educational assessment – why bother? The simple answer is; how could we not bother? In reflection when we discuss assessment it may not always be apparent, especially to the assessed as to the benefits and reasoning behind the method and approach. This can be mostly overcome by merely explaining the logic behind the practice specific to the given scenario. Each assessment is, or at least should be, there with purpose. In education it is used to develop the student, and in business assessment is a means to assess performance. Without assessment we could not validate skills or knowledge of an individual or group. The challenge though is not when to use assessment but what assessment to use? Each assessment should be well planned out to best fit the desired outcomes, if the assessment is appropriately selected and implemented a better learning experience can be created.


Bibliography
Gagne, R.M. & Briggs,L. J. , 1974, Principles of instructional design, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Texas.
Gibbs & Simpson, 2004, ‘Conditions Under Which Assessment Supports Students’ Learning’  ,Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Issue 1
Nitko, A.J. & Brookhart., 2006, ‘Educational Assessment in Students’, Pearson, Accessed 22 February 2010, from http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_nitko_education_5/47/12089/3094917.cw/-/t/index.html
Skinner, 1979, The shaping of a behaviourist, Alfred A. Knopf, New York.




In the realm of education there is a variety of pedagogic strategies and theories, but to substantiate these we must have a proven form of validation to assure both the success of the educational experience itself and verify the learning outcomes of the student themselves. We may find, however, that students and even on occasion educators may not see the point of an assessment as part of a course feeling that merely the participation is enough. So why should we validate their knowledge?

For this matter to be overcome we must justify the validation itself, but from various readings the issue would appear to sometimes arise from the usage of the wrong assessment type (Gibbs & Simpson 2005). The challenge in using these assessments is to find the right assessment to validate the learning experience since the assessments need to match the measurement of the intended outcomes and be an appropriate means of testing for the audience. For instance a validation for a school student may not be appropriate to use in a professional environment.

In an educational setting, assessment is traditionally used as a form of validation of the students’ work and development. We most commonly see this used in an empirical manner where the goal is to assess components of the knowledge, around a rote learning form of strategy. The idea being that the students have memorised and absorbed the information given to them and can regurgitate it in a test environment. This can be seen to relate in its approach to Skinner and his behaviourist theories (Skinner 1979) when the output is that of automated response, or even similar to Gagne on a much deeper level where he describes this in his nine events of instruction (Gagne 1974) with stage 8 – ‘Assess Performance’, to lead from the ability to simply regurgitate the information to ‘Enhance Retention’ of the knowledge itself in his final stage. This is a summative approach to assessment.


However in a higher education learning environments we tend to see the focus of the assessment brought away from the traditional empirical methods and more geared towards an ideal of involvement and participation. This could be due to the fact that school education is education with a purpose of getting you ready to pass a state exam, so development comes secondary to an empirical result. Whilst further and higher educations are mostly aimed at developing you to function in a working environment where continual growth and collaboration are generally most sought after than rote memorisation skills.
With this in mind we can see that the assessment that are created try to be more open in their approach for these higher learning institutes. We see a focus on rationalisation rather than memorisation where the student now needs to research for themselves and develop according to their own interests and the ability to rationalise and discuss their findings is the main area of importance. The assessments can now be varied and a formative approach can be seen to show the students’ knowledge and understanding, using ideas from portfolios and participation based assessments where we can now gain an overview of development or even break it down into increments of development.

In these formative scenarios where we can see development happening through the stages, the idea is that we can assess the quality of the students’ achievements whilst they are still in the process of learning. This is to say that although the students are being tested on their performance, the test itself may be open-ended. In the formative scenario, the student cannot know too much, obviously a limit can be reached in the time frame but the limit is set by the student and their involvement, this is in direct opposition to summative where the goal is to achieve only the designated levels to be tested. This could, in turn, be nearly perceived as putting a cap on the education of the student. e.g. “in learning this course material and that is all you will need to know to pass the exam”. This isn’t to say summative doesn’t have its own benefits, we will touch on later, but it puts to question, how or even do we match our assessment to out desired learning outcomes.

Assessment is by no means limited to the academic environment; in industry there are many valid reasons for us to use assessment on a regular basis, from initial interviewing to progression and development; these again tend to be a mixture of formative and summative assessments dependent on the area needing to be gauged.

A summative assessment in these situations may not just be a knowledge test, for example we can see these being a technical test in applying for a computer job role or a maths skill test for an actuarial position. In some circumstances though we may use a language test to assess an individual’s skill with a language before being brought into work in a multicultural environment; even though an interview scenario may be more beneficial it is not always a feasible solution due to time constraints and location considerations, but in deciding our appropriate assessment method we do consider if they are at an appropriate level for the business? The difference in this sort of scenario is we as a business consider that the assessment is a tool, unlike the academic environment, used not to see the limits of the individual knowledge but to see if they have the skill level required to work in the business, which is why the summative approach is just as effective and in fact more cost and time effective.

In a developmental direction however we can see in some creative careers how an ongoing portfolio of work is kept to display not just one’s ability but a timeframe over how they have changed. This was commonly seen in an art and design career, but now is used in a technical role, to display a history of software development, for example. Some roles will now go so far as to develop entire training structures to build an individual for a role. In these, from my own experience in the industry, the student keeps an ongoing portfolio of work and development and completes a final testing as well. This shows the potential for development of the individual whilst showing a definitive knowledge of certain areas. All this is aimed to be done within reason of the role; however, in certain areas, an individual would need to know direct from memory, in others they would have time to research. To assure the candidate is properly versed in this the testing must be appropriately matched to the intended skills.

I have mentioned the point of finding the right assessment for matching the learning targets but how do we do this? There seems to be no set instruction on how to approach the matter, but there are noted considerations on how we should broach the subject. For instance a primary concern as mentioned above is to be clear in you targets, a well defined outcome is essential in directing towards the correct assessment. There are two perspectives to this point, the students and the educators. Does the assessment technique benefit the student and consider, does the proposed assessment method actually prove a knowledge or understanding of the topic for the educator to assess them? As noted for some business scenarios an assessment does not necessarily need to be a benefit but rather a method of skill testing. This is also a consideration, why create a portfolio when all you need is to know the person has a basic understanding? It’s of no benefit to either party and creates undue work.

When we say educational assessment – why bother? The simple answer is; how could we not bother? In reflection when we discuss assessment it may not always be apparent, especially to the assessed as to the benefits and reasoning behind the method and approach. This can be mostly overcome by merely explaining the logic behind the practice specific to the given scenario. Each assessment is, or at least should be, there with purpose. In education it is used to develop the student, and in business assessment is a means to assess performance. Without assessment we could not validate skills or knowledge of an individual or group. The challenge though is not when to use assessment but what assessment to use? Each assessment should be well planned out to best fit the desired outcomes, if the assessment is appropriately selected and implemented a better learning experience can be created.


Bibliography
Gagne, R.M. & Briggs,L. J. , 1974, Principles of instructional design, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Texas.
Gibbs & Simpson, 2004, ‘Conditions Under Which Assessment Supports Students’ Learning’  ,Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Issue 1
Nitko, A.J. & Brookhart., 2006, ‘Educational Assessment in Students’, Pearson, Accessed 22 February 2010, from http://wps.prenhall.com/chet_nitko_education_5/47/12089/3094917.cw/-/t/index.html
Skinner, 1979, The shaping of a behaviourist, Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Can gaming characteristics be used as a method of overcoming cultural barriers in training?


As an educator there can be many various challenges and barriers to delivering effective Training. One challenge that has become more common in recent years is that of a cultural nature. These vary from the difference in educational approaches dependent on the local educational cultural and the expectations of a student in a classroom scenario, to the less measurable Language, Body Language and even Etiquette skills. The Barriers are even more obvious and abundant in a multi-cultural classroom or training scenario.

The areas mentioned above are aspects of training and education which differ from culture to culture and if there is a lack of synergy between trainer and student or even between students of varying cultural backgrounds it can be hard to create an atmosphere conducive to effective training.

Although we may find that there are many tools and resources available, are we really using all of what’s available to us and are we using them with the right approach in mind? For example, e-learning and multimedia methods of training can be seen to be used at times as merely methods of presenting digital text with no real structure, interaction or presentation design behind them.

                  I believe that the characteristics inherent to simulations and educational games, which can be used to increase learning and motivation in a training scenario, can be used as a bridge to bypass these cultural barriers by allowing the Trainee to progress and develop in a training scenario that can be flexible and can be customized to meet the individual needs of the learners.

There are a number of features that supplement the characteristics of games and simulations. In games there are six structural factors:
·                Rules
·                Goals and Objectives
·                Outcomes and Feedback
·                Conflict / Competition / Challenge / Opposition
·                Interaction
·                Representation or Story
                                                                                          (Prensky 2001)
The use of these factors and characteristics may allow us to accommodate different types of learning styles, also giving Students the advantage of learning at their own pace. Students will learn through a variety of activities that apply to many different learning styles learners have.

So using these gaming characteristics we can apply them to various training methodologies and scenarios to see if appropriately used, can they help overcome or even improve how we handle cultural barriers in training.

Bibliography

Prensky, 2001, Digital Game-Based Learning, McGrawHill, New York.

Benjamin Hamilton, 2007, ‘Game Characteristics’, Learning Design and Performance Improvement, accessed 3 October 2009, from http://hamiltonnotes.blogspot.com/2007/07/game-characteristics.html

As an educator there can be many various challenges and barriers to delivering effective Training. One challenge that has become more common in recent years is that of a cultural nature. These vary from the difference in educational approaches dependent on the local educational cultural and the expectations of a student in a classroom scenario, to the less measurable Language, Body Language and even Etiquette skills. The Barriers are even more obvious and abundant in a multi-cultural classroom or training scenario.

The areas mentioned above are aspects of training and education which differ from culture to culture and if there is a lack of synergy between trainer and student or even between students of varying cultural backgrounds it can be hard to create an atmosphere conducive to effective training.

Although we may find that there are many tools and resources available, are we really using all of what’s available to us and are we using them with the right approach in mind? For example, e-learning and multimedia methods of training can be seen to be used at times as merely methods of presenting digital text with no real structure, interaction or presentation design behind them.

                  I believe that the characteristics inherent to simulations and educational games, which can be used to increase learning and motivation in a training scenario, can be used as a bridge to bypass these cultural barriers by allowing the Trainee to progress and develop in a training scenario that can be flexible and can be customized to meet the individual needs of the learners.

There are a number of features that supplement the characteristics of games and simulations. In games there are six structural factors:
·                Rules
·                Goals and Objectives
·                Outcomes and Feedback
·                Conflict / Competition / Challenge / Opposition
·                Interaction
·                Representation or Story
                                                                                          (Prensky 2001)
The use of these factors and characteristics may allow us to accommodate different types of learning styles, also giving Students the advantage of learning at their own pace. Students will learn through a variety of activities that apply to many different learning styles learners have.

So using these gaming characteristics we can apply them to various training methodologies and scenarios to see if appropriately used, can they help overcome or even improve how we handle cultural barriers in training.

Bibliography

Prensky, 2001, Digital Game-Based Learning, McGrawHill, New York.

Benjamin Hamilton, 2007, ‘Game Characteristics’, Learning Design and Performance Improvement, accessed 3 October 2009, from http://hamiltonnotes.blogspot.com/2007/07/game-characteristics.html