9 Tips to Localise Your E-Learning Courses
If you have members of staff in different jurisdictions, you should consider localising your e-learning courses, i.e. tailoring courses for each locality where you have an operation or significant numbers of staff.
This could be in different countries, for example, such as one version of the course for your team in the UAE and a different version for your team in KSA. You might also consider localising e-learning courses for different audiences within the same country.
The following tips will help ensure you maximise the benefits of e-learning localisation.
1. Understand the Difference Between Localisation and Translation
While translating text into different languages is an important part of localising e-learning courses, it is not the only element. Localising goes much deeper to look at everything from design colours to the images on the screen to the way language is used.
A good example of the above is an e-learning course that features an image of a house. Houses can look very different depending on where you are in the world. Therefore, an e-learning course that has been fully localised would feature different house images on each version.
2. Remember that Learners Want to Learn in Their Own Language
This point is particularly important if most (or all) of the members on your team are bilingual. The temptation here can be to provide training to everyone using the commonly understood language.
However, this will be their second language, at least for some people who will be completing the training.
Even among learners who are bilingual, most would prefer to learn in their own language. Therefore, localising your e-learning courses can improve engagement levels and overall results.
3. Consider Cultural References
Cultural references that are beneficial in one location could be meaningless in another. In some situations, a cultural reference might even insult learners in a particular locality. Other issues with cultural references include learners misunderstanding the point or being completely confused.
Jokes are a good example of a cultural reference that can cause problems when used in different locations. References to popular culture and the use of idioms and slang terms are other examples.
Even though you may think a cultural reference enhances the course with a specific audience, the best advice is usually to leave them all out.
4. Consider Available Space
This tip looks at translating content into different languages from a design perspective as the style of languages can vary greatly. Where text might fit neatly on a screen in one language, it could be messed up in another as languages can take up varying amounts of space to say the same thing.
This doesn’t just apply to text on the screen either – the timing of voiceovers on videos can also vary depending on the language.
5. Think About the Design of Your E-Learning Course
This can be one of the trickiest aspects of localising an e-learning course, but it is essential in many situations. After all, colours and signs can have different meanings in different parts of the world. Similarly, a gesture made by a person in a video could be fine with one audience but insulting to another.
Therefore, it’s important to think about the design of your e-learning course and how it will be perceived by learners.
6. Translate all Text on the Screen
Another important point to remember is that you are likely to have text in a range of different locations within your e-learning course, not just the text-based content. Navigational elements like buttons often have text, and there could be text in a video or on an image.
Ideally, all this text should be translated as part of the localisation process.
7. Pay Attention to Currencies, Dates, Units of Measurement, Etc
Currencies, dates, and units of measurement are examples of other content that can vary from location to location. With currencies, for example, you should consider the symbol used, whether to convert the amount into a different currency, and how you write the number in relation to positioning the currency symbol, formatting large numbers, formatting decimal places, etc.
There are similar things to think about with dates and units of measurement too.
8. Plan for Localisation at the Start Wherever Possible
As you may have already determined by the points on this list so far, the best time to plan for localising your e-learning course is at the start.
For example, by planning at the start, you can avoid using cultural references in all versions of the course. This removal of cultural references could save time and hassle in the future.
Another example is planning the design so the text fits in all versions you are creating, regardless of the language.
9. Hire an Experienced E-Learning Developer
It can also be beneficial to hire an e-learning developer to look after the development process rather than doing it in-house. A professional e-learning developer will have experience localising training materials, so they will bring considerable value to the process.
Maximising Training Success
Localising your e-learning courses requires additional investment. However, it’s always important to focus on outcomes, specifically improved learner experiences and the fact that localising e-learning courses will enhance the success of your training strategy.