Creating eLearning Solutions For An Enterprise-Wide Global Audience: 4 Challenges And How To Overcome Them

How Can You Create And Implement Global eLearning Solutions?

The market for eLearning services and platforms is growing rapidly in the corporate environment. eLearning programs are being utilized for various purposes, including employee training, organization on boarding, process training, soft skills training, and so on.

The global eLearning market is growing at the rate of 15.06 percent, making it one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Driving this growth is the massive popularity of handheld devices, such as mobiles and tablets, which is heralding the era of mobile learning.

Additionally, cloud-based learning platforms (SaaS platforms) are also growing in popularity. These platforms can be accessed through the internet and there is little or minimal setup required on the learners’ end. This makes eLearning an affordable and viable option for corporations of all sizes and varying needs.

In step with the growing popularity of eLearning solutions, organizations have to think strategically about the structure and the outcomes they hope to achieve before any eLearning content is created across the entire organizational spread. Global eLearning solutions can help companies drastically cut travel and employee training costs, as well as improve efficiency while retaining a uniform international company culture. However, there are many challenges when creating a global eLearning initiative, which can lead to unnecessary cost or delays in rolling out the initiative. By following the best practices of eLearning content development, organizations can avoid common mistakes and create impactful learning content for international learners.

Global eLearning Solutions: 4 Challenges And How To Overcome Them

  1. How to create a uniform tone that will appeal to all audience profiles?
    Different audiences prefer to be taught in different tones and it is difficult to find the same tone across all eLearning content. A possible solution is to research cultural norms and dialects of the specific country or region for an eLearning initiative. This can be done in collaboration with the region’s experts who understand the local audience’s learning preferences. Also, in addition to translation, the content should be suitably localized to keep cultural and social biases out of the learning content. For example, any text / design reference to popular culture should be avoided, including sport, slang, or entertainment world references. Maintaining clarity in both text and graphic design offers the learning material an appropriate, universally appreciated tone.
  2. How to deliver strong messages?
    It is not sufficient to just translate eLearning solutions which were originally created for the learners of one region, as a lot of messaging gets lost in the translation process. Developing text and design that has no or little reference to the source language is a difficult task for developers, especially if they have limited knowledge of the new cultures and global regions being targeted. However, if the eLearning program is written with the global audience in mind, excluding biases like idioms, humor, or specific cultural references, it can be well-adapted to suit the overall message of the eLearning initiative, as text and design need to be created keeping a wide-angled view on the outcome. Details pertaining to specific regions can be changed as per need during the localization process; but the uniformity of the eLearning course’s message should be maintained.
  3. How to cut down costs of translation and eLearning localization?
    With limited training budgets, the costs of translating and localizing eLearning solutions also have to be kept minimal. When implementing global eLearning solutions, the eLearning content needs to be translated and localized into multiple languages. But there are ways to reduce costs here as well: Hiring local translators can be a wise decision, as they would not cost the earth and would also do the job better. There are ways to reduce localization costs within the content too. For instance, instead of creating an audio narration with animated video and having to translate voice overs, re-record, and re-sync, “audio bookends” can be created to frame the animation –  thereby removing the issue of exact timing. This can be a faster and cheaper way to create learning material with suitable audio narrations across different audiences.
  4. How to create an eLearning solution on a par with varying technology options and connectivity?
    Selecting a single platform and format for an eLearning initiative is of prime importance, as it directly affects the efficacy of the program. There are many options; from the very basic off-the-shelf eLearning courses to customized solutions that take time to be created and implemented. It is best to keep in mind that computer access and internet speed varies greatly across different regions. It is important to have clear expectations of technical eLearning solutions for eLearning programs. Facilities like streaming video may not be available to all learners, and purely web-based programs with a large graphical interface files may not be the best choice if your audiences are from different parts of the world. The good news is that there is a significant shift in the eLearning industry to create solutions that work on minimum bandwidth and can be integrated with available resources.

The most important factor that ensures the success of an eLearning initiative is an effective plan and buy-ins from all the stakeholders within the organization. Global stakeholders should agree on the technology, messaging, branding, and goals of the eLearning module. Successful global companies spend appropriate time developing a strategic plan for enterprise-wide implementation of international learning programs. From the very beginning, content is created with translation and localization in mind, in order to produce effective courses that can be easily adapted from one language or culture to another. Sticking to this strategy, you can save time, money, and effort while creating impactful technology-aided learning for a global audience.

Suggested further reading: Keep It Simple-Challenges, Solutions, and Best Practices for Global eLearning Initiatives by Kristen Giovanis, KJ International Resources, Minneapolis, United States

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