A global journey towards e-learning localisation

The provision of e-learning courses has accelerated over the past few years in line with the pace of technological development. Both society and the business world have moved from print material and classroom based learning, to an interactive online world where real time e-learning on personal devices such as laptops and mobile phones dominates.

With the global workforce becoming more mobile and interconnected, e-learning has really taken off alongside the demand for training and development takes priority in people’s lives.  This growing trend in involving mobile devices as part of the everyday work environment presents an opportunity for managers to connect with their employees in a much more engaging and effective manner.

The benefits of localisation e-learning content

If you still aren’t convinced on the benefits, the stats on the positive effects of e-learning are hard to ignore.

Productivity can be boosted by 50% as a result of using e-learning, as well as saving 50-70% in training costs when replacing instructor based courses with e-learning modules.

But it is not just managers who influence e-learning content, as employees put themselves in the driving seat. Taking the control away from managers, employees are beginning to take a much more active role in their own development, identifying areas they personally feel they need to be trained in. E-learning providers are able to take advantage of this by becoming an enabler of self-directed learning for people all over the world.

Click on the infographic to open in full.

e learning infoprahic

Why should international businesses be happy about this?

With business operations becoming more concentrated in emerging markets, e-learning provides a training platform for people and areas that are less accessible due to the political environment, infrastructure and geographical factors. Mobile penetration in emerging economies is rising and will continue to do so as they leapfrog into technological development.

In addition, education and learning is now on the political agenda for emerging economies, opening up vast new markets for providers of e-learning tools.

The challenge for these providers now revolves around localisation of such tools and courses to suit these new markets.

The importance of localisation

Providers of e-learning will need to consider the technology that sits behind the customer facing content, along with formatting information for various devices. Text, animation, audio and interactivity all require localisation if e-learning courses are to succeed. Whilst English content may work on any device, other languages will have to be tested separately to ensure consistency.

If you consider that English is not the native language of 71.4% of internet users, by translating your e-learning content you can reach 70% more users.

Other formatting issues will need to be taken into consideration when deciding to localise. Font size and characters will vary from language to language along with line breaking, colour schemes and acronyms. Translating content can also mean that the volume of text increases or decreases (for example, Russian and Italian texts tend to increase by 15%) meaning the size and location of text boxes may need to be adjusted accordingly.

These potential pitfalls can be easily overlooked but can result in a disjointed interface and incompatibility with cultural differences.

This means that it is important that localisation of e-learning tools and material is done with an experienced Language Services Provider, who only uses native linguists with extensive expertise in translating e-learning content. Functionality and software testing can also help to provide peace of mind that back-end programming is aligned with customer facing interactivity.

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Business Development Manager Sally specialises in translations for technical, software and e-Learning content. With 4 languages and a Masters in Machine Translation under her belt, when she's not working, she plays the piano and sings with her local choir.

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