How to implement an effective eLearning localization strategy
Successfully localizing your eLearning program takes a strategic approach. Perhaps your company wants to localize learning content in order to expand its global market share, increase productivity, or improve employee retention. By thinking strategically about eLearning localization, your company can ensure that the program meets your goals and delivers a positive return on investment.
Why localize eLearning content?
Localizing your company’s online training content creates a better experience for your learners. People absorb new information more easily when it’s delivered in their native language, even among those who speak English as a second language. In fact, 90% of people prefer to learn in their native language.
Other benefits of eLearning localization include:
Reaching a wider global audience
Creating a standardized, high-quality learning environment, with content that is equally effective across all regions and languages
Boosting knowledge retention rates among your learners
Positioning your company as a global brand
To formulate an eLearning localization strategy, start by considering your end goals. Also take into consideration that there are different types of content that fall under the umbrella of eLearning, which may require different strategic approaches for localization.
Common types of eLearning content
Companies make use of eLearning solutions in a variety of ways, including:
Employee training—eLearning is a fast, low-cost way to deliver information and resources employees need to do certain tasks or to help them build skills
Compliance training—These are typically mandatory courses that employees need to complete in order to be up to date on the organization’s policies, procedures, and regulations, or to comply with the law
Customer training—Educating customers on how to effectively use a product or service helps to ensure customer satisfaction
How do you decide what aspects to localize?
While people learn more quickly and retain information better in their native languages, localizing the entirety of a company’s eLearning content can seem like a daunting undertaking.
Start by determining what results you want to accomplish with your eLearning localization strategy and then prioritize those outcomes. Next, assess which aspects of your online training content will need to be adapted for specific local markets in order to achieve your goals.
Consider these factors when making a determination:
English Proficiency Index (EPI)
This index ranks 112 countries and regions by English language skills based on the results of free online tests. In high-EPI locales, original English versions of training content may be suitable for learners
Cultural references and cultural sensitivity
Consider the cultural context of the source content and how it may be perceived in other markets. For example, a training module originally created for a German audience featuring Western references may resonate in other European countries but fall flat with a Chinese audience. Also, be certain to audit content for anything that may be potentially offensive in other cultures, including images, gestures, body language, clothing, and colors
Level of investment
A company may have thousands of pieces of eLearning content, in a variety of different media. Localizing a large training library requires a significant investment of resources. Making strategic decisions about which content is the highest priority for localization can help keep costs under control.
Measuring success for eLearning localization
Localizing eLearning delivers significant advantages for your organization. It can increase employee efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, and drive business growth. To fully understand the impact of localization, your company will need to determine the right KPIs to measure success.
Here are some performance indicators to consider for the common types of eLearning content:
Employee and compliance training
Rates of course completion: Employees are more likely to finish courses that are understandable and culturally relevant
Scores for quizzes and tests: The better people comprehend course material, the better they’ll score when tested
Overall utilization: In-language, culturally resonant content is more useful and engaging for employees, and that should boost utilization rates
Employee satisfaction: Surveys and feedback can help you gauge the success of your localization efforts and offer ideas for further improvements
Sales and revenue: When people truly understand how to get the most value from your product or service, they’re more likely to buy from your company again and also to recommend it to others
Customer satisfaction: Well-executed customer training makes people happier with their purchases, so the success of your localization efforts should be reflected in a higher Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Customer support: If customer training is localized successfully, the result is less need for customer support, with improved escalation and resolution rates
Feedback and reviews: Customer feedback can help identify errors or unclear language in localized training content. You may also want to track customer reviews to see if localized training is improving product ratings
The three key performance indicators (KPIs) that are often used to measure the success of an overall localization program are translation quality, cost and speed. The right professional partner can help you develop and execute on an eLearning localization strategy that meets your global growth goals in the most cost-efficient way possible.
8 smart eLearning localization tips
Now that you understand the importance of a strategic approach to eLearning localization, it’s time to consider tactical tips for implementing your program. From culturally-appropriate imagery to the right approach to video content, here’s a set of eight tips.
Be aware of cultural and contextual nuances
Translating text is only one aspect of eLearning localization. Icons, symbols, colors, and other elements can have vastly different connotations across cultures and should be chosen with each audience in mind.
Use culturally-appropriate imagery
Online learning content often relies on graphics, icons, photos, and other images to help convey the coursework. Imagery that’s perfectly appropriate and understandable in one culture may be meaningless or even offensive in another.
Incorporate aspects of the culture and locale
Source content should be kept as neutral as possible for ease of adaptability. Local content, though, benefits from the inclusion of cultural elements such as local places, familiar names, and images of people in local dress. This helps learners connect more with the content, which in turn helps them better retain the information.
Determine your approach to video content
Consider whether subtitling or dubbing makes the most sense for your video content. If dubbing, you’ll need to use native voice talent who speak the correct dialect with the right accent. In some cases, transcreation may even be the best approach—for important content that really needs to resonate with local audiences or when there are specific time constraints and subtitled or dubbed content would run too long.
Take physical space into account
When translating content, text can take up more or less room in the design depending on the language, so the layout may need to be adjusted. The same goes for spoken language. It may be necessary to extend the length of a video if dubbed content runs longer. Be sure to include some still images or video clips in the original cut that can be slowed down if the localized narration needs room to expand.
Choose the right learning management system (LMS)
To localize eLearning content, your organization will need a localization-ready LMS with multilingual capabilities. It’s also important to choose a solution with analytics and reporting functions that can help you assess the quality of your localized content.
Work with a trusted translation partner
Localizing your eLearning content takes a significant investment of time and resources. Done right, it can yield big benefits for your business. That’s why it’s critical to work with a top-quality professional translation and localization partner. For cost-efficiency and ease of management, look for an agency with the capabilities to handle every aspect of your program, including multimedia adaptation and transcreation.
Get more tips from Acclaro
See our e-book for more best practices on how you can localize your eLearning content to truly engage and educate your audiences across countries and cultures.
Take the next step with a full-service partner
Localizing your eLearning content can be transformative for your business—improving the skills and efficiency of your workforce, increasing customer satisfaction and retention, and driving revenue and growth. Our eLearning localization experts will partner with your organization to customize a solution that meets your specific needs and helps you achieve your goals. Contact us today to learn how we can work together on a successful eLearning localization strategy.