Localizing Your eLearning Materials In The Context Of COVID-19

6 Reasons To Localize eLearning Content
Summary: Learning is the key to success and our virtual presence facilitates the knowledge share for everyone, including non-English speakers. eLearning localization should be part of our business continuity plans, as no one knows what the future holds, but the current situation has taught us to be prepared.

6 Reasons Why You Should Localize Your eLearning Content

Looking back at the last couple of months, we have only just started to adapt to a new way of life, including working from home (whenever possible), keeping at a safe distance for any social interactions, conducting meetings online, etc. Businesses are adjusting and incorporating the new “normal” into their everyday operations. The eLearning industry, however, has been relying on trainings at distance for a long time and continuous growth as a result.

eLearning's Importance In A Socially Distanced World

The new measures in place only emphasize the importance of remote learning in our fragile globalized world. The eLearning market has already been growing rapidly in recent years. But now that many people aren't able to meet face to face at all, virtual training is becoming the most viable and pandemic-proof solution. It won't be possible to fully measure the impact of the COVID-19 crisis for months to come, but it seems very likely that the eLearning industry will continue its rise to prominence.

Localize To Reach New Audiences

The expanding use and importance of eLearning in a COVID and post-COVID world are driven by the growing realization that eLearning overcomes barriers like geography and the cost of hosting events and resolves the problem of safety and hygiene.

The next logical step for many business owners and eLearning providers is to make their learning and training material accessible to a global audience. After all, there are millions of potential learners who may not be able to access your content because it is not written in a language they understand. If eLearning has already broken down distance and cost barriers, why shouldn't language barriers be the next target?

It's worth remembering that eLearning localization works because it is more than just directly translating the words you've used in your learning material. It stands for adapting every aspect of your course so that learners receive the same information and can achieve the same outcomes.

The current context of safe return to work and school provide us with an opportunity to rethink the ways we operate. There are many reasons which might drive a decision to localize your eLearning content. Let’s look at some of them.

1.  Your Audience's Need Has Never Been Greater

Learning and acquiring new skills is still one of the most important roads to success and many people have now turned to eLearning to obtain knowledge. Likewise, many businesses' need to reach out to their target clientele remotely has skyrocketed without access to some of their traditional face-to-face channels. This means that eLearning has become a necessary tool for individuals and businesses around the world.

Many companies have opened up and offered part of their services for free as a teaser using online courses, webinars, and other materials designed to both make their services accessible as well as advertise what they have to offer.

2.  Meet Them On Their Terms

It might be tempting to create this kind of content only in English and work toward having more volume of it. But what about people who have no access to these materials because of the language barrier? Thanks to highly effective localization practices, reaching out to people from different countries and cultures has never been easier.

Taking the time to localize your material will be valued by your potential customers and learners and will reflect positively on your brand. You can make your content more accessible via:

  • Localized versions of your training materials in other languages
  • Subtitles and captions for your audio content
  • Audio content produced in different languages

This is important because people understand and digest information faster and retain it better when they can learn in their native or preferred language.

3. Help people

Many businesses are quite understandably driven by the desire to increase profit as they open up their remote services offering for free. Yet for many, there is also a genuine humanitarian desire to want to help others who are facing difficult situations. For instance, if you are an expert in a certain field, providing your expertise to someone who might not normally be able to access it would be extremely valuable. The fact that localizing your content is now a cost-effective exercise means that you can help people around the globe achieve their goals.

4. Local Communities Are Getting More Important, But So Are Links To The Outside

Social distancing, closed borders, and restrictions on movement are still the reality for many of us. Inevitably, this means many people are turning toward the local playground, the local store, and their local community. Yet communications in general—and learning in particular—still are and will be global. We still have access to online platforms and resources through the internet. Despite the fact that you and many others now spend most of your time at home or in your local community, there's no reason why your communications or your learning should have the same limitations.

5. Understand And Comply With Important Policies

There are many instances where organizations are required to localize their learning material because of local legislation, internal policies, or simply because some of their members or employees do not speak English. From the perspective of a global organization, training material needs to be available to all employees.

Employees at every level of an organization should receive and understand the same consistent message and be part of the same carefully constructed, cohesive company culture, and brand. This could be related to:

  • Mandatory or essential training
  • Legal regulations
  • Data protection regulations
  • The company’s code of conduct
  • Or even hygiene requirements to be followed, which is becoming more relevant lately

Training materials of this nature need to be localized so that they are available for everyone.

6. Increase Your Productivity And Work More Efficiently

We've already touched on how providing training in your employees' native or preferred language makes them learn more quickly and effectively.

That faster, better learning process leads to a number of benefits, such as:

  • Increasing the productivity of your employees
  • Building a knowledgeable team which can adapt to changing situations
  • Spreading and maintaining a consistent message and culture (vital for all companies and organizations, but especially those spread around the world)
  • Offering the same high quality of service and standards globally

Make eLearning Part Of Your Business Continuity Plan

Businesses and individuals around the world continue to struggle with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some places, doors are starting to reopen after lockdown. This means that now is the time to show your audience that you care and that you intend to come out of this situation stronger than before and that you want to build back better.

In the future, it will also be the case that the most successful businesses will be those that plan for how to overcome future disruptive events into their long-term strategies. Things like the ability to provide mandatory and essential training even when classroom-based events aren't possible will be a key capability.

To recap, localizing your eLearning content unlocks a vast new audience. Crucially, it allows you to achieve the same impact that your original highly effective learning material had on your target audience to learners that are coming from a different culture and background. This is achieved not just by translating the words but also by adapting the content, the cultural references, and the graphic and visual aspects. For most businesses, now is the time to consider eLearning localization.