Serge DaDeppo: Cross Cultural Competence – NATO Transformation Command Innovation Hub Workshop

Cultural Intelligence
Serge Da Deppo
Serge Da Deppo

Cross Cultural Competence (ccc) Online Learning Solutions

Workshop (9-10 Nov 2015) Report 

The workshop was conducted on 9-10 Nov 2015 at the Innovation Hub facilities in Norfolk, VA and online.


To kick-off the development of Cross Cultural Competence State-of-the-art Online Learning Solutions that will support national experts’ efforts in efficiently educating masses of personnel.
To address the following questions.
  • What are the shortfalls, in terms of cultural learning support, faced by each nation/expert that this project could collectively address?
  • What could each nation/expert contribute to the collective effort to increase cultural competence?
  • What online tools (existing or to be developed) could efficiently support cross cultural learning?
Learner’s needs assessment
The crowd of potential learners is very diverse and the nature of CCC learning requires that the courseware is adapted to them. Therefore tools to assess the learner’s needs should be embedded in the learning solutions.
Transfer – applications
What is learned needs to be easily transferable to operational situations, used in exercises, trainings and real life application.

Measure of effectiveness
Learning objectives need to be clearly defined and measure of effectiveness needs to be included.

Include in military training
Developed learning solutions should be usable in military exercises and trainings.

Leverage Existing Experts
More experts are needed to teach more people.

Leverage experts online
Experts, availability and outreach should be boosted through online tools and techniques.

Access to experts and expertise
The CCC learning solutions should provide easy access to experts and expertise wherever they reside. Experts and instructors collaboration should be supported through an online platform.

Learning activities need to be debriefed with the learner by instructors/experts.
Different levels – audiences – jobs
Learning solutions need to address different levels of cultural competence, diverse audiences and suit various jobs and functions.

Train the trainers
To educated masses of personnel more instructors are needed. A train the trainer approach is an option to tackle this issue. This also allows to mitigate the challenges linked to linguistic and cultural specificities of the various audiences.

Multinational coalition
Cross cultural competence is needed not only to understand/interact with operational cultures (people from operation theatre), but also to optimize the work in multinational coalitions.

Language challenge
CCC solutions should allow efficient learning in any language and any culture.
Attitudes – Skills – Knowledge
Too often online courseware only provide knowledge through static content assessed by quizzes. Efficient CCC implies acquisition of skills and a change of attitude. Both things need to be efficiently addressed by the courseware envisaged here. This requires close and dynamic engagement with the learners.

Know yourself
The first, most important and most difficult step in CCC is to get the mindset and ability of understanding one’s own culture and associated cultural bias. It is critical to reach this objective.

Techniques to address attitude and skills learning could include
Emotions triggering – Story telling – direct interaction between participants – role play – simulation – facilitated interaction – cognitive dissonance generation …

Different topics + taxonomy
Besides the techniques, learning culture is addressed though chosen topics, from easy ones, like daily life, food and leisure, to more difficult to address ones, like gender, politics and religions. To help the instructors, a catalogue of he different topics needs to be developed, as well as a taxonomy and a repository of related course material

Language challenge
Language skills training is also part of CCC and needs to be considered within this project.

Unlike some other learning topics that are addressed through standardized approach and techniques, learning about culture is highly dependent on the learner’s situation (time, location and environment) and own culture. Adapting to the learner’s situation is a priority for our approach of CCC learning.

Human dimension
CCC courseware need to be human centric and provide the participants with the most efficient ways to engage with other course participants and people from other cultures.
As a consequence of the learning characteristics listed above, the online education tools needed for CCC will meet the following characteristics.

Standard + Adaptable
Some parts of the courseware will be standardized for all participants. Those parts will probably be those aiming at the Information and Knowledge objectives. Other parts will have to be adaptable to the learner’s situation and fit different level of learning and different applications of CCC.

Different techniques
Courseware needs to offer the learner and the instructor with various learning techniques to choose from.

The tools should allow technology link to real life situations such as being embedded in training and operational settings.

Learners’ needs assessment
The learner’s needs assessment is to be embedded into the tools and automatized, at least partially.

Language challenge
Life translation of text and audio is needed.

Mobile – User friendly
The courseware needs to meet the learners where they are, hence be designed for different devices. The limited access to technology of some audiences also needs to be considered.

Measure of efficiency
Should be embedded in the courseware.

Human dimension
Whatever tools and technology, the learning needs to be people centric and optimize the interaction between participants.
Reach out
The CCC courseware development should also consider the important aspect of reaching out to its learners audiences and therefore develop appropriate communication strategy and material.

Keeping the learner motivated should be achieved through the provision of incentives.

Synergies between participating institutions will keep costs low and might generate smart ways for funding the courseware development.

Existing Online Tools
  • Static Content (audiovisual- podcast—text)
  • Graphic novel
  • Online Education Platform
  • Video conferencing service
  • Share your own content
  • Social media platforms
  • Movies content
  • Web episodes
  • Video games
  • 3d scenario development
  • Community games
  • Community content development
  • Quizzes-Tests-Surveys
  • Immersive environment
  • Adaptive Content
  • Transmedia
  • Interactive story-telling
  • Translation technology
  • Tutors community
Online Tools to develop
Cross-platform data collection and analysis
Translation tools suiting CCC objectives and techniques
Action Plan
To expand the community and integrate new inputs.
Continue the discussions through online interactions (forums, videoconferences) 
Identify Online Learning Solutions to develop, and
in 2016 develop and test prototypes.
Way ahead
Participants will encourage other experts to join the group.
Discussions are continuing on the online forum at
and Recurring videoconferences will be organized to discuss new inputs.

Workshop material is uploaded on the website.

Looking forward to interacting with you online soon,

The Innovation Hub Staff
NATO Transformation Command

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