To read this content please select one of the options below:

Training the world: using archetypes to create a practical global learning strategy

Richard Mesch (Performance Development Group, Malvern, Pennsylvania USA)
Stacie Comolli (Performance Development Group LLC, Malvern, Pennsylvania USA)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to define a new methodology for designing corporate learning for a global audience and to provide a case study of that methodology in action. The Global Learning Archetypes approach adapts well-established cultural preference models and combines them with insightful learning models. The result is three primary Global Learning Archetypes and six secondary archetypes that allow training to be designed once and used around the world.


The Global Learning Archetype approach was created by evaluating well-established global cultural preferences models, integrating them with a proprietary learning criteria model, and developing a model for rapidly and cost-effectively creating learning for multiple geographies. Additionally, a case study illustrates both the challenges and successes when implementing this model in a large global corporation.


Most organizations create global learning either by creating content in their “home” location and then adapting it for other locations, or by distributing a single version of content and trusting local facilitators to provide context for it. The first method is expensive and time-consuming; the second method is risky and unreliable. The Global Archetype method provides for creating learning interactions that are appropriate for multiple geographies in a single effort.

Practical implications

Most large organizations are global, and smaller organizations increasingly have a global footprint. According to Fortune Magazine, the Fortune Global 500 are headquartered in 37 different countries and do business in over 150 different countries. An Institute for the Future/Intuit study notes that by 2018, half of all US small businesses will be involved in international trade. CSA Research observes that businesses spend about US$31 billion a year on localization. A method for providing global learning in both an impactful and cost-effective way is clearly necessary.


The Global Learning Archetypes method is comparatively new, but it draws from well-established and well-vetted content on worldwide cultural preferences and on effective learning criteria. As such, it is a valuable synthesis of the proven and the innovative. Far more than a conceptual model, the Global Archetypes have been used by some of the largest organizations in the world; a case study of one such implementation is provided in this paper.



Mesch, R. and Comolli, S. (2015), "Training the world: using archetypes to create a practical global learning strategy", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 8-14.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles