As technologies advance, e-learning courses continue to expand reach and provide education outside a traditional classroom setting. Businesses embraced the trend adopting e-learning courses to train team members and sharpen skills. In fact, 98 percent of organizations said they would implement video as part of their digital learning strategy by 2022, according to data compiled by Zeqr. Large companies have found that e-learning courses are an effective solution to efficiently train their subsidiary teams in non-English speaking countries. According to a Brandon Hall Group study, it takes employees 40 to 60 percent less time to study material via e-learning than in a traditional classroom setting. With more businesses and students using e-learning platforms, the reach of any course or training program is now global, therefore, e-learning course localization has become key to its success.
The biggest challenge to e-learning courses is language. The most common languages in the world include Chinese at 1.2 billion people followed by Spanish at around 0.4 billion people. Websites, digital applications, and platforms are beginning to evolve communication to reflect this diversity of language. Twitter’s language base, for example, has expanded from 21 supported languages in 2012 to more than twice that number in 2015 with 48 supported languages. No matter the country or channel, e-learning courses must include local context to properly engage the end user and serve its purpose. Additionally, e-learning courses can be technical, requiring subject-matter experts who will properly understand and localize a course for the target market.
Here are 3 tips to guide your organization through e-learning course localization.
1. Consider every element of the e-learning course.
From traditional videos to interactive activities, e-learning is delivered in a multitude of formats. Within each form, organizations will discover various elements in need of localization that may include written content, graphics, navigation buttons, audio, date formats, and units of measurement. Another significant component includes course evaluation systems. Evaluations and scores vary among regions, typically graded as a percent, letter, or number system.
When launching any new e-learning program, it’s best to consider all of these details and plan for multilingual content from the very beginning. This allows organizations to better determine the scope of the project and identify the teams needed for optimal localization.
2. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to e-learning course localization.
It’s important for your organization to recognize that e-learning copy or voice-over lengths will vary in size depending on language. For example, a 100-word e-learning course in English will typically end up with a word count of 125 when translated to Spanish or another Romance language. This compression and expansion of copy may affect course design and layouts.
Another aspect of localization variables to consider is synchronization, specifically for voice-over scripts. If the course requires dubbing services, the audios must adapt to the videos in order to achieve harmony between the image and sound. For multilingual content, organizations should capture extra footage so that scenes can be expanded to accommodate longer voice-overs.
3. Localizing is more than translating.
E-learning course localization is far more complex than translating alone. Translation involves rendering one language to another. Localization is a more involved process that properly aligns intent, context, and culture. E-learning courses often include technical jargon, abbreviations, acronyms, evaluation methodologies, and regional slang that require efforts beyond translating methods alone. Once localized, it’s important to leverage local experts to review all e-learning course content. This quality assessment will ensure the course effectively educates trainees in the target market.
Next time your organization launches an e-learning course, remember the possibilities of global reach. If possible, incorporate a multilingual strategy as you create content. When crafted with care and consideration, multilingual e-learning courses will further your organization’s reach and spark lasting connections across the globe.