How to Avoid eLearning Culture Clashes

August 24, 2011 by Lauren Kerr
Category: Training & eLearning, Localization Tips

elearningCultural differences are a consideration in almost every localization project. Tackling the various perspectives on sounds, colors, graphics, dates, times, money, humor, poetry, and more is what keeps things interesting for us!

Mastering those cultural differences when it comes to localizing eLearning content can be especially tricky. Depending on the course material, local culture could have a big effect on how your localized product is received in your new foreign markets. A bold, aggressive approach (for example) may work well in some countries but could be complete turn-off in others.

It’s critical to go beyond mere translation and delve deep into cultural norms when you’re providing training in soft skills like management and sales techniques. Even with eLearning related to product training, paying attention to the nuances of each locale you’re entering can really pay off.

Here we offer a few questions to ask to help make your translated eLearning a hit rather than a miss. For some great in-depth details, we invite you to read the full article in our newsletter.

What kind and level of interaction is right for trainees in your markets? Will they respond better to a interactive course full of tasks and quizzes, or something more factual and info-driven, available with a single click?

What are the cultural norms related to your course material in each country? Common sense in one country could be anathema in another. We’re all fish swimming in our own cultural waters, and it’s important to step outside the tank to see that what’s normal in our own culture may be completely taboo in another. Whether we agree or not, driving rules, dress codes, forms of address, and so much more differ wildly from place to place, and must be taken into account in your training to avoid expensive mistakes and do-overs.

Who will your expert partners be? Find knowledgeable subject-matter experts to work with to help modify your content before you pass it along to your language vendor. That way, you can avoid contradicting local labor laws, management styles, and more from the get-go.

Every eLearning product is unique, and you certainly don’t want a cookie-cutter localization solution for yours. For more help determining the right path for you, take a look at this full article, and read Acclaro’s top ten tips on training and eLearning localization, too.

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