Localizing eLearning content in your LMS? How to navigate the challenges
As the person responsible for your organization’s eLearning program, no doubt you’re well aware of the benefits of localizing your training content. People absorb new information more easily in their native language. Localizing courses creates a more conducive learning environment that helps users retain knowledge and develop their skills. A strong learning culture boosts employee retention rates by 30-50% and increases profit margins by as much as 24%.
To get started planning your eLearning localization strategy, you’ll first need to assess your existing learning management system (LMS).
What localization capabilities does your LMS have?
An LMS is a flexible, cost-effective way to deliver training. An LMS can deliver eLearning to your internal teams (i.e., employees), as well as external groups, such as prospects, customers and partners. However, it can pose certain logistical challenges when trying to localize eLearning content. Unlike a content management system (CMS), which is specifically architected to support localization, an LMS typically isn’t. Before you create your strategy, you’ll need to understand what localization capabilities your LMS has and make a plan for working around any limitations.
Here are some issues to consider:
Moving content into and out of your LMS
This is a basic part of your localization workflow, but depending on the capabilities of your LMS, it may be more complex than it sounds. Can it be done by connector? Via export/import? Your LMS developer can be your guide. Ask them for detailed information on the features available within your LMS that can help you start localizing your eLearning content.
File and folder structures
Localizing your eLearning courses is a complicated undertaking. Creating a folder structure that works across languages and that can be duplicated for each new project helps streamline the workflow.
In addition to the final files for your courses, your translation and localization partner will also need access to source files for video, audio, graphics, and any other elements that require translation. Before getting started, you’ll need to determine what file and folder structures are possible within your LMS and decide on the configuration that will best support your localization process.
User interface (UI)
eLearning courses are often interactive and contain a variety of user interface elements. These include navigation buttons such as next, back, close, and submit, as well as things like tooltips, progress bars, text that is displayed on hover, and other visual features. These elements may contain text that requires translation, and this needs to be taken into account in your localization workflow.
Different content types
eLearning can be complex to translate, because it typically contains a wide variety of content types, not simply text. Your courses may include graphics, animations, videos, or voiceovers, for example.
If your LMS supports export, consult with the LMS developer to determine if there are types of content that cannot be captured through either the export/import function or a connector. Then you can map out all of this content and make a plan for how to localize it.
If the process is automated, you’ll need to know whether the automation pulls all types of content, including text, images, and multimedia. It’s also important to assess whether different workflows are required for the different kinds of content.
To ensure the quality of your localized learning content, courses should be reviewed in draft or preview mode by team members in the local market before being published. This way, any unforeseen problems with localizing the content can be corrected before users access the course.
Common dependencies and ways around them
Since an LMS typically isn’t designed to support localization, you may discover that there are dependencies you need to address. The good news is that there are ways to work around these constraints.
Here are a few common dependencies and their solutions:
Dependency #1: Supports export/import in CSV
In this scenario, content is exported from your LMS via a CSV file, imported into a third-party system such as Storyline for localization, and then a CSV with the translated content is imported back into your LMS. CSV is a common file format for LMS exports. These files are highly customizable, but creating the needed filter can be difficult to set up.
To work around this, share a sample of data exported from your LMS with your translation and localization partner. Their engineers can examine the file and build the correct file filter that will allow you to smoothly move content out of and back into your LMS.
Dependency #2: Supports export/import in XLIFF
XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF) is an XML-based file format that was created to standardize how localized data moves between different systems and tools during the localization process. XLIFF is specifically optimized for working with computer assisted translation (CAT) tools.
Because this file format was designed for localization, setting up file filters is typically straightforward. If you run into any difficulties, consult your translation and localization partner for help.
Dependency #3: No export/import
If your LMS doesn’t support export/import, you can still manually copy and paste content out of and into your system. To get started, create an LMS workflow and determine which stakeholders will be responsible for which steps. This is especially important if your system isn’t fully automated.
Decide who will:
Upload the completed files
Review the completed files
Do the copying and pasting
Getting off to the right start with eLearning localization
An efficient, well-organized eLearning localization process begins with clear communication among key stakeholders and getting internal buy in.
Specifically, you’ll want to:
Work closely with your LMS provider
Your LMS developers are the experts on their system and can be an invaluable resource while creating your localization strategy. Ask your LMS team to share their lines of code (LOC) documentation and to make recommendations for the best way to structure your workflow.
If they can provide case studies of other customers using their platform who have localized their learning content, that can also be helpful as you develop your own localization program.
Align with your internal teams
Team members across a variety of roles will be involved in the localization process—including content creators, developers, and marketers. It’s important to get everyone on board with your localization plan from the outset.
Making sure that all of your team members understand their responsibilities and are comfortable with the process can help your localization efforts run more smoothly.
An experienced translation and localization partner can help you navigate the challenges
Localizing your eLearning content can make a big difference for your learners—and for your business. It allows users to develop their skills in a learning environment that truly supports their needs.
A better trained workforce is more productive, delivers higher quality work, and helps to retain and grow your customer base. Similarly, eLearning keeps customers and partners better informed about your products and solutions, helping increase both sales and customer retention.
Our eLearning localization experts make sure the constraints of your LMS won’t stand in the way of your success. We partner with you to find solutions and create the optimal workflow to deliver high-quality localized eLearning content for your international audiences.
Contact us today and download our eLearning ebook below to learn how we can work together to unlock all the benefits of localized eLearning for your business.
Training and elearning ebook
Educate, engage & inform across cultures
Language barriers should never stand in the way of hiring and training the right employees, or of informing customers. So, how can your company deliver consistent, targeted and relevant instructional materials across language markets? It starts with an elearning localization strategy.
Wondering what’s involved? We developed an elearning localization ebook that highlights best practices on: