Professionals best develop competence through self-motivated learning. While cultural competence trainings may be mandated by a sponsoring institution, it is still possible for trainers to design and conduct trainings that encourage learners to identify their need for cultural competency and be motivated to address those needs through trainings. Moreover, learners are most likely to engage in self-motivated learning if the training focuses on problem-solving and practical application of value-added content in the context of what they have already experienced.
Cultural competence trainings that address issues of minority sexual orientations, gender identities, and sex development often challenge assumptions and implicit biases of the learners that frequently are unexamined and unacknowledged. Transformational learning theory – which addresses how individuals are motivated to perceive and change their basic assumptions and perspectives – provides a useful context for planning and implementing such trainings. Transformative learning helps learners question their foundational assumptions about what is normal and to become more reflective, inclusive, and open to change.