There’s no question: eLearning is a vital part of any company’s training and talent development programs. Especially for global companies, with teams spread across different offices and locations, the convenience of online classes make them the preferred and most effective method in regards to saving valuable time, money, and energy. However, when it comes to making eLearning accessible for all, are you ready for the language and technology challenges that may arise?
To provide all users the same training experience, you have to make sure your content is localized well. We’ve worked alongside many companies developing eLearning material for internal training, support material for products, and specializing in eLearning development, so we know this is no easy task. Here are six tips that can help any organization go global and keep your eLearning effective in any language!
When designing an eLearning course, be aware of future requirements for translation. Make sure your source content has room for expansion. Depending on the language, localized text can expand 20 to 50 percent in length.
Sharing process information from the source creation such as screen shooting scripts and asset maps can be very useful to the localization effort. This helps reduce the process design time and minimizes the issues met during engineering.
The assets used to compile the final versions of the source courses should also be made available. Often, eLearning technologies have two components, editable and published versions. If the editable version is not available, the source may need to be rebuilt before translation starts.
Often in eLearning content, elements will repeat on each page, (for example: the “Next” and “Previous” buttons). Merge all these repeated elements in a common repository or page template so they only need to be replaced once during localization. This way you’ll avoid inconsistency and delays in your process.
Cultural relevance is also important. If the eLearning is not culturally neutral or was even designed for a specific audience, it needs to be adjusted to the reality of its localized versions. For example, replacing images of road signs from the United States for the correspondent signs in each country.
There are many ‘off the shelf’ eLearning development products available on the market today which ensure that the source course is designed with localization in mind. Products such as Articulate and Captivate enable the separation of content from presentation and easily import/export linguistic assets from the development environment. This ensures a standard process can be followed for localization while also assisting in minimizing the manual extraction and import of translatable content.
These six tips are key to ensure your online training is ready to reach your global audiences! For more information about eLearning localization, use the comments below, subscribe or reach out to us directly. Before you know it, you’ll have a smooth eLearning localization process that speaks the same language as your end users.
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Paul McCrory is a Technical Strategist at AMPLEXOR International and is based in Madrid, Spain. He specializes in software engineering and has been part of the team since 2007.