Virtual Classroom Teaches the Culture, Work Involved in Hiring of Foreign Talents

In an age that is perpetually disrupted by technology, lifelong learning has become a must and a way of life, and no longer an option. It’s not just the course or the subject matter that is changing, but the platforms and methods that bring education as well.

One form that global mobility managers just might warm up to in the next few years is virtual learning when it comes to international mobility, assignee and expatriates, immigrant life, cross-cultural immersion, and perhaps every other thing related to their work.

Relocate Magazine names the RES Forum Learning Lab as one of its pioneers. In this state-of-the-art moving virtual classroom, global mobility managers can study the pillars that make up their profession: a general overview of their industry, the career path of the assignee or expatriate, employee compensation and other perks, and industry rules and regulations that the global mobility manager, the assignee, and the company have to be compliant with.

It does seem to be another standard course for the atypical distance learning model, until one begins to dig deep. However, while the student can amass knowledge about the subject matter just by reading and taking the required tests, as they might do with a course like Economics or Literature, that cognitive accumulation of theories and facts may not be enough for global mobility.

The success, after all, of an assignee in an overseas assignment, as well as that of the global mobility manager guiding them, depends more on just an intellectual understanding of the culture or people of the country of employment.

Experience and the ability to adapt are integral to an excellent performance for a long-term assignment. It is not enough for example, to accept theoretically or in principle that Chinese businessmen see gift-giving as a way to lower boundaries and gain goodwill with future partners; the assignee must be able to experience it first-hand.

One aspect of this particular learning program is that it provisions for the mobility of the student. Again this looks more complex than it sounds. It is not another case of the mobile student who runs from one meeting to another and squeezes lessons in-between using his smartphone.

In this particular learning lab, the modules are apparently designed for the mobile lifestyle of the global mobility manager. The manager would be able to take a two-week business trip, flying from his tech hub based in the San Francisco Bay Area to cities in China and India before going back home.

In order to work while allowing the jetsetting student to be productive in their work, the modules may have been designed to offer the right amount of content that they can assimilate and absorb while working, and yet without becoming too heavy or complicated to the point that the lessons will be discarded or forgotten because of a too hectic work schedule.

It is that creating and maintaining that balance that has allowed on-campus continuing adult education to succeed for expatriates living on foreign soil.

As detailed by The Telegraph, some of them took up graduate studies in Business Management, for example, over a period of two years, finishing eight courses and a 10,000-word dissertation—all without interrupting their professional lives or hindering their career advancement.

Learning mobility in a lab might still be in its early stages but it does bear watching. The entire field of education is taking a lot of strides and both student and schools have to do their fair share of adjustment.

Given the way that technology is leapfrogging, it might not be far off for a global mobility manager to bask in the culture of his assignee’s next country of employment, without leaving the comforts of his furnished apartment.

All he has to do is put on his visor, plug on his VR, and enter a whole new virtual world where he will be interacting live with his counterparts at the other side of the globe.