How to Tap Into the Potential of E-Learning Authoring Tools

It’s no secret that e-learning is all the rage these days. Many educators and employers have had no choice but to adapt their in-person lessons and training into a digital format in 2020. Unfortunately there was little warning that we needed to head in a more digital direction this year, so many e-learning courses are quickly being pulled together with PowerPoint presentations and homemade videos, and by using outdated tools like Flash. Investing in e-learning authoring tools is a great way to create quality content that is engaging and fun. These tools are easy to use and can make the entire process of e-learning better from start to finish. 

Essential Features of E-Learning Authoring Tools

Moving away from traditional education approaches and tapping into the potential of the available e-learning authoring tools can open the door to some really helpful features. While features vary based on which e-learning authoring tool you choose to utilize, these are some of the major benefits worth considering that most tools offer. 

  • Quizzes and surveys are a great way to boost engagement and to review how well the user is retaining the information presented to them. You can also use surveys to collect feedback from your users.
  • Video lectures and screencasts allow you to share video tutorials which can be more engaging for users. It can also be easier to present software tutorials over video instead of written text.
  • Interactive elements are another perk of working with e-learning authoring tools. 
  • Branching scenarios are possible with the use of e-learning authoring tools and allow the learner to make choices that affect how the course proceeds. Instead of following a linear experience, branching scenarios enable individual learning experiences and gives the creator a better understanding of the user’s knowledge. For example, if the user makes a mistake during texting, branching scenarios can then direct them to review the section they misunderstood.
  • Mobile learning support allows users to access their e-learning courses from their phones in a way that is convenient and easy to use. This functionality is practical and gives users to access their e-learning courses from virtually anywhere, at any time.

If you’re looking to take your educational content to the next level, there are some pretty handy e-learning authoring tools on the market such as: Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Lectora Inspire.

Simplifying the Localization Process

Another major benefit of utilizing e-learning authoring tools is how much easier they make integrating the localization process. You can use these tools to easily export course content for localization. Properly localizing an e-learning course will create a more engaging and effective learning experience for the user. 

Localization doesn’t just translate content word for word. Culture, context, and intent are all taken into account as well. This can extend past just written text and affects photos, music, jokes, cultural references, word play, and more. 

Because e-learning courses for employee training can include complex technical jargon, acronyms, abbreviations, and regional slang, it’s important that your user has access to that vital information in a clear and digestible way. 

Embracing E-Learning for Corporate Training Post COVID-19

As technology advances, the world around us adapts. The education space is no different and for many years now, e-learning opportunities have been growing in popularity. During the onset of COVID-19, as schools and offices closed, online education became the norm overnight. Using e-learning resources to meet the needs of corporate training post COVID-19 is an option many businesses may want to consider. 

Evolving the Workforce through Corporate Training Post COVID-19

Unfortunately, the toll of the pandemic is being felt in rising unemployment numbers. This means many employees may find themselves needing to adapt within their roles to accommodate staff changes at their company. Training is essential for helping employees adjust during this transitional process. Whether or not a company is currently operating remotely or in-office, e-learning can be beneficial to the corporate training process. 

According to the McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives reported experiencing, or expect to encounter in the coming years, skill gaps in the workforce. E-learning can help fill in these gaps and can extend corporate training opportunities far past the office. 

The Benefits of E-Learning for Corporate Trainings

Whether or not a company requires corporate training post COVID-19 be done remotely or in-person, there are two major benefits of e-learning worth considering. E-learning training is both cost- and time-efficient. Reusing training content and removing the need for a valuable employee to conduct training will save time and money, especially down the road once more and more employees have used the e-learning training materials. It’s easy to see why, even before the pandemic hit, 98% of all companies were planning to be using e-learning by 2020.

Speaking of saving both time and money, good e-learning training can help retain employees. Forbes found that 40% of employees who did not receive sufficient training left their job within the first year. If you invest in creating solid digital training processes, you may just find yourself with a more engaged, more skilled, and more satisfied workforce. 

Taking Advantage of Learning Trends

For corporate training to succeed, practical training that prepares employees for their actual job is necessary. Gamification is a fun and rewarding example of how e-learning can be optimized to help employees succeed. E-learning courses can utilize gamification techniques to train and engage employees through game thinking and game mechanics that encourage the learner to solve problems. 

Businesses can take advantage of e-learning trends that equip their remote employees to learn new material and apply what they’ve learned to their work quickly, all while allowing them to gain access to educational content and aids. These e-learning trends include: mobile learning, microlearning, gamification, and video-based learning.

A World of Opportunities

Another door that e-learning opens up for corporate training post COVID-19, is the ability to provide training to employees in their native languages. When employees learn information in their native language, they’re likely to have a better comprehension of the material. It’s less likely that they’ll have to worry about terminology or some piece of key information falling through the cracks.

The proper translation of corporate training materials is a great step to take towards a more skilled workforce.

What is Gamification in E-Learning and Why is it so Important?

Who doesn’t want to play a game at work or in school? Of course, life can’t be all fun and games, but when it comes to e-learning, games are all the rage. More specifically, gamification in e-learning is a popular and very effective learning technique. In fact, a University of Colorado study discovered that users of gamification during the learning process scored higher in both fact- and skills-based learning assessments. Gamification also helped improve retention rates when used in workplace learning.

Let’s break down exactly what gamification is and how to use gamification in e-learning.

What is Gamification?

The term gamification refers to the usage of the mechanics, dynamics, game thinking, and aesthetics found in games. The objective of this technique is to improve user experiences, as well as boost the motivation and engagement of the user. Because these techniques can blend fun with effectiveness, they’ve found a natural fit in e-learning systems. Gamification can help engage users, motivate actions, promote learning, and encourage them to solve problems. All of which can help the user understand and retain the educational material better. 

What are the Key Elements?

There are several design elements that suit the needs of gamification in e-learning, such as:

  1. Point systems
  2. Badges
  3. Trophies
  4. Customization
  5. Leader boards
  1. Progress levels
  2. Progress tracking
  3. Challenges
  4. Feedback
  5. Social engagement loops

All of these elements are intended to encourage the user to engage, boost both motivation and retention, and lead to an overall more positive learning experience. This technique takes advantage of the competition instinct most people possess and encourages productive behavior.

Why Does it Work for E-Learning?

A 2015 study in the Journal of Computer Sciences found that when gamification was offered in an online informatics course, students who enrolled in the gamification version of the course performed better and retained more than those who took the course without gamification techniques included. 

The learning process requires high motivation, which is something gamification design elements can assist with in e-learning systems. Gamification stems from the basic concepts of gaming. A game is a goal-focused activity with reward mechanisms in place, which is what makes playing them so satisfying. By utilizing gamification in e-learning, you can allow the user to undertake specific tasks to achieve a desired goal (which in this case is learning the material). Tracking and rewarding their progress is possible as well, which can help improve motivation and engagement. 

Widening Horizons

One way to create extremely engaging e-learning content is to make training materials available in multiple languages to accommodate your staff’s diverse needs. Allowing employees to learn in their native language can help improve retention and engagement, while simply making learning materials easier to understand and digest. 

When implementing gamification techniques in translated e-learning materials, it’s important to choose a partner with experience in the target language and the subject matter of the educational materials. Being familiar with how games and their mechanics work is important too. In this respect, experience with video game localization and transcreation are crucial to the success of implementing gamification techniques in e-learning materials.

Lectora Inspire and the Localization of E-Learning Courses

Throughout the world, despite all of our differences, there is one thing most of us can agree on. Education matters. Thanks to technology, education has left the confines of the classroom and can be accessed globally online. This is where e-learning courses come in handy. Skills can be taught and knowledge can be shared through these digital courses. This is especially helpful for companies looking to train employees on complex software or to distribute safety trainings to a large workforce. In order to spread the reach of an e-learning course, localization may be necessary. Tools such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and Lectora Inspire can be used to make the translation and localization of e-learning courses much simpler. 

What is Lectora Inspire?  

Lectora Inspire is an authoring tool that can be used during the localization process. This tool allows the creator to export a RTF file that contains the text included in the course. Lectora Inspire offers “Translation Tool” and “Multi-language Publishing” features that assist with the process of translating e-learning course material. 

A powerful function of Lectora Inspire, is that it can create courses that can be viewed on multiple devices. This allows the user to easily convert existing courses into ones that are responsive to a variety of devices (such as a computer and a smartphone), without having to do the work manually.

How it Works

The Translation Tool extracts the text from the course and converts it to an RTF (rich text format) file. Once you have that file, you send it to your translator partner to make the necessary changes. The way this tool works, is that it publishes a number of strings automatically as part of your course. As some text is not exported with the RFT, its translation needs to be handled separately. Strings of text like default feedback, test results, and confirmation or error messages will need translation alongside the title text. 

Another handy feature of the tool is that it offers a “Multi-Language Publishing” option which is useful when creating separate courses in different languages. Once your main title is published, Lectora Inspire can publish a different version of the same course for each language you have a translation file for. 

Helpful Tips

Before you begin using Lectora Inspire for the localization of e-learning courses, there are a few helpful tips worth remembering:

  • To start, when you first create an RTF file, make sure you know which text you can and can’t alter. Some of the text in the file must be left untouched for the tool to work properly. Luckily, this text is highlighted red to remind you to leave it be. 
  • When working with RTF files, you should not open them or edit them in Microsoft Word. Doing so will automatically format your text which can cause issues upon re-importing it. It is recommended that you use WordPad or Notepad++ instead. 
  • It is also important to remember that there might be additional resources in your course that may need translating like audio or video files. As well as any attachments or documents that require updating.

E-learning Course QA: What You Need to Know

When creating an e-learning course, the ability for the student to learn and understand the information presented to them should be a top priority. A priority which becomes more challenging to achieve once an e-learning course is localized. E-learning course QA (quality assurance) can help ensure that the learning process is smooth for the learner, as even when professionals carefully localize content, there can be small errors that can affect it.

After localized elements such as text, images, audio, and video are imported, a linguist can do a global QA of the entire course. They do so from the perspective of the end user and during this process will spot minor mistakes like spelling mishaps and major errors in functionality. Keep reading for some must-know tips about e-learning course QA. 

Plan Ahead for QA

When creating an e-learning course that will eventually require localization, you’ll need to carve out extra time for development and testing. Planning this time in advance is wise as you’ll require more production time to build e-learning courses in multiple languages. Every time you adapt your course to a new language, you’ll have to develop, test, and review the entire course from start to finish.

Hire QA Testers

The testing and quality assurance review process is necessary to create an effective e-learning course in multiple languages. While you’re planning your course, you’ll want to identify the skills you’ll need your testers to have. In general, an e-learning course QA tester should be a linguist with proficient knowledge of both the original course language and the language they will test. This dual knowledge will allow them to compare both versions to make sure the message is consistent across them. 

What to Check for During QA

When linguists do a QA review, they should keep their eyes open for three main considerations: content, design, and functionality. 

Content: The tester should look for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary mistakes in written content. Audio content should also be reviewed carefully for mistakes. They should keep a close eye on if the terminology on the audio track matches up to the same terminology or wording that the text displays on the screen. If this text does not match properly, the student may become confused. Another mistake that is easy to overlook is text in images. If an image in the course shows a word in a foreign language, it needs to be translated separately as an authoring tool (such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline or Lectora Inspire) can’t export that type of content. 

Design: During the localization process, there is a chance design mistakes can occur as language does not translate into an identical length of characters. The reviewer will search the course for overflowing or truncated text throughout. Does the design still work efficiently in a different language?

Functionality: The reviewer will do one last check throughout the course to ensure everything is functioning as intended. They they will check that all buttons work properly and that the right audio track plays at scheduled times. Human errors can happen, so the linguist should do their best to catch them.

The Use of Articulate Storyline for the Localization of E-learning Courses

Education can be spread in many ways. From the lessons we teach our children at home to traditional classroom settings. More and more, we’re turning to technology to increase our opportunities for education. And that education doesn’t have to stop after you walk across the graduation stage. E-learning courses can help users pick up new skills or master foreign subject matter from anywhere in the world. These digital courses are particularly helpful for teaching employees how to use new software or aiding them in understanding safety training. If a creator wants their course to have a global reach, there are tools like Articulate Storyline that make the localization and translation of e-learning courses a much simpler process. 

What is Articulate Storyline?

Articulate Storyline is an authoring tool. Similar to Adobe Captivate and Lectora, Articulate Storyline is one of the most popular authoring tools for e-learning courses. One of the main features of this software is that it exports the content of e-learning courses into different file formats. Then, translators can use these files to complete the localization process efficiently. Once the text has been translated into the new language, the new text can be imported to Articulate Storyline. By allowing the user to export all text found in an e-learning course, both time and money can be saved. 

The Features of Articulate Storyline

This handy software has some powerful features that translators can take advantage of. One such feature allows users to export courses into a .xliff file. This file format can be used with most CAT tools. E-learning course creators can benefit greatly from the use of CAT tools as they help increase productivity, save money, and improve consistency and accuracy. 

Another benefit of this software is that it has a text-to-speech feature that offers an alternative to actual voiceover content produced by a professional. While this type of audio will not be as vibrant as that recorded by a professional, it can be helpful to use this feature to catch any mistakes in the text or to calculate what the duration of the slides should be. Ideally, this audio will later be replaced by a real voice-over recording. 

Best Practices for Using Articulate Storyline

The translation of e-learning courses is a complicated process, so when you use Articulate Storyline, you should keep some best practices in mind. One of the most common mistakes that occur when using this tool relates to formating. In order to properly translate and import the file back into Articulate Storyline correctly, the text in the third column must be translated. If you alter any of the text in column one or two, the translated file will not import correctly. 

Another important misstep to avoid is forgetting that the exported file only contains the slide content. You’ll want to localize the text labels of the Articulate Storyline player, such as buttons, tabs, and messages. This is how you can start this process

If you’ve produced a course that has an audio component, you will still need to record the script in the target language and will have to import the new audio files. You’ll want to make the necessary adjustments to ensure that the foreign audio files synch up properly with any on-screen text or graphic elements found in the course. 

Last but not least, before publishing a translated course, it is important to run the course through QA testing. Ideally, a linguist who is a native speaker of the target language, will do a final quality check to make sure that any mistakes are caught and that the learner will have a smooth experience without interruptions to their learning.

How to Use Adobe Captivate for the Localization of E-learning Courses

Language touches every area of our lives. One of the most important ways it does is through educational resources. Today learning is no longer confined to the classroom as anyone around the world can take advantage of e-learning courses. These courses are especially important for businesses who need to train their staff on complicated processes such as utilizing new software. This tool can also help host smaller training sessions to help master things like safety precautions regarding food or machinery. Which is why it is important to offer localized versions of these courses. Luckily, technology is ready to help. For starters, the Adobe Captivate tool can make the localization of e-learning courses a much simpler process. 

What is Adobe Captivate?

Adobe Captivate is an authoring tool that professionals use to create e-learning content. This content can range from randomized quizzes, to software simulations, to demonstrations of software. The content is created in either Small Web Formats (.swf) and HTML5 formats. This handy program can also convert any Adobe Captivate generated file formats (.swf) to digital MP4 (.mp4) formats. You can then play the content on a media player or upload it to video hosting websites. 

Adobe Captivate is a powerful tool with a wide range of functionality. When applied to software simulations it can use either left or right mouse clicks, rollover images, and key presses. It can also create screencast and can convert a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to a .swf or HTML5 format. 

Why to Use This Tool For the Localization of E-Learning Courses?

Sometimes an e-learning course needs to be accessible in multiple languages. This is where Adobe Captivate comes in. This program allows the creator to export all text found in the course into a Word document, which is ideal for beginning the translation process. The process of translating the text and importing it back into the proper format for the e-course is made simple by this tool. Multiple columns will be shown in the exported document. The translator will then translate the text in the “Updated Text Caption Data” column and will finish by importing the file back into Adobe Captivate.

It is worth noting that all multimedia content such as images, videos, and audio narration need to be localized separately. The export only includes text. If you are working with a course that has audio, you can translate the scripts and then record and produce new audio to add to the localized version of the course. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Adobe Captivate

If you want a seamless experience using Adobe Captivate, there are a few tips and tricks worth knowing. One very important aspect of using the tool you should keep in mind is that language does not translate equally in size. Meaning, if you have a perfectly designed PowerPoint presentation filled to the brim with text, you’ll need to consider how translating the text will affect your design. For example, the Spanish text expands by 25% when translated from English. Which could lead to your text no longer fitting on the page if you’ve translated a course from English to Spanish. The same space issue applies with the translation of audio tracks into Spanish. There is a chance that your recording will increase or decrease in time based on the localization of the audio. 

When using Adobe Captivate for the localization of e-learning courses, it is important to remember these three major missteps while handling the files. 

  1. Don’t make any changes to the Captivate file between the export and import process. If you do so, you won’t be able to correctly import the translated text.
  2. Don’t change any values from the columns. This includes formatting. The only column you should update is the “Updated text Caption Data” column. If you change the values, the file can “break” and there is a chance the content and formatting won’t be correctly imported.
  3. Don’t save the file as a different type of file from the original format. Adobe Captivate usually exports to a 97 – 2003 Word doc. If the document is saved in a .docx format, there’s a possibility that it will break and won’t import properly.

Overall, this tool can save ample amounts of time and money during the translation process. It is worth considering adding it to your toolbox if you need to tackle the localization of e-learning courses. You may also want to consider researching other e-learning course tools such as Articulate Storyline, Camtasia or Lectora to help improve your productivity and the quality of your translation work. 

3 Things You Need to Know About E-learning Course Localization

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.

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.

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.

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.