E-learning is a simple and cost-effective way to train large volumes of people. But what puts an e-learning provider at the top of the class?
E-learning is a vital part of most large organizations’ training and development programs. Companies operating internationally, with teams dispersed across the world, are particularly well-suited to the convenience and flexibility of online learning.
Whether your organization already has an active e-learning program in place or whether you’re just starting out, carefully crafted e-learning content is vital to ensure the same high standard of training is accessible to all employees, wherever they are in the world and whatever language they speak.
With the continual shift towards remote working, globalized business operations, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for online learning has never been higher.
While some e-learning providers are rising to the challenge, meeting the opportunity with sophisticated technological solutions tailored to each organization’s specific needs, others are still relying on the tired, one-size-fits-all slideshows that have been causing eyes to glaze over for decades.
Here, we share some of the secrets of effective e-learning that will help take the strain out of training—whether you’re looking for courses from an e-learning provider or you are an e-learning provider yourself.
Personalize Your E-learning Programs
Digital learning tools facilitate a modular approach to learning that traditional classroom training cannot match. This has several advantages:
- Training modules can be added and removed to suit individual employees at specific locations at different times.
- When participants receive training that has been customized to their specific needs, they will be more engaged and more likely to retain the knowledge they’ve gained.
- Scenarios and learning methods can be incorporated that mirror the real-life work experience of the participant. In this way, customized digital learning can be less about being told what to do on a conceptual level and more about ‘learning by doing’ in the context of the work they’re currently engaged in, which will help them retain what they’ve learned going forward.
- E-learning is more conducive to the monitoring and recording of participants’ progress. While the course and the evaluation methods will be identical, details of each individual’s achievements, wherever they are located in the world, will always be easily accessible by course supervisors. This is particularly important in highly regulated industries, where such record-keeping is a legal requirement.
When e-learning materials are personalized, every participant can receive e-learning tailored to their needs, wherever they are and whatever they do.
Localize Your Course Resources
Language and cultural factors have a significant impact on a person’s ability to learn. That is why course content should not be simply translated into the appropriate language, it should be localized to the culture.
Here are some of the benefits to localizing your e-learning content:
- Unlike translation, localization targets much more than text. It identifies and adapts everything from currencies and units of measurement to local beliefs and regulations. Localization also takes into account how different cultures will view the structure and visual content of the training. For example, while most Western cultures associate envy with the color green, in Germany it is yellow.
- Interactive elements within e-learning programs—such as navigation buttons (Answer, Submit, Close…), progress indicators, and pop-up tooltips—are often overlooked when training is adapted for different languages. Localizing the user interface ensures all students experience the same level of clarity while completing the course.
- In e-learning content, the written word often appears as part of an animation or video rather than typed text. This inconspicuous writing often gets overlooked by translators. A skilled localization team will identify any instances of this and adapt as necessary.
- Then there are the questions, examples, and illustrations that incorporate behaviors that are correct in one country but inappropriate in another for example, a car driving on the left side of the road.
When e-learning materials are localized, multinational organizations can benefit from effective, culturally relevant training that applies equally across their entire international workforce.
Globalize Your Interface
Languages are not simply interchangeable, letter for letter. Depending on the target language, localized content can take up as much as 30-40 percent more space.
A properly designed e-learning course should take into account not just translation, but also the impact this will have on content length.
Whether an e-learning course is made up of slides, video voiceovers, or graphics with text, the additional space requirements can present a significant challenge to multilingual content creators who may need to deploy a creative twist or rephrasing.
With an expert understanding of how different languages correlate, a skilled e-learning provider can preempt these issues to deliver content that has optimum impact in any language.
Achieve Learning Goals for Your Entire Organization
In a global, connected marketplace that increasingly values diversity, local culture, and distinctive skillsets, your organization’s training methods have to incorporate the language and technological solutions described in this article.
Of course, this requires the mastery of a broad range of specialized skills, which is why many large organizations turn to Summa Linguae Technologies (SLT) for their global e-learning resources.
SLT specializes in creating e-learning courseware that is personalized and localized for every member of the global community. This includes video and animation (such as subtitling and voiceover), text files, maps, instructions, websites, mobile applications, and learning management systems.
Iwona Bąk, SLT’s Global Production Director, describes our philosophy:
“We believe e-learning should take full advantage of the opportunity to break out of the traditional four-wall classroom to give every participant—whatever their learning style, culture or location—an engaging and effective training program that is optimized for their particular needs.”
To build e-learning resources tailored to each individual participant, wherever they’re located in the world, contact SLT today.
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