Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a fair few enquiries about developing bespoke global eLearning. The majority have come to me with a similar vision in mind… they’re looking for a global digital learning solution that can deliver consistent and standardised training, encourage global cooperation, reduce costs and offer their people agile and engaging learning.
Luckily, global eLearning can deliver on all of the above, and more – but only if it’s done properly.
A common misconception in delivering global eLearning is that it’s simply a case of translating the learning word for word. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as one of the key elements to successful global eLearning is localisation.
eLearning localisation is all about adapting your learning content to suit the different cultures and languages of each geographical area. It can be the deciding factor to whether your eLearning really hits the mark with all of your learners, especially when you factor in the following:
I might be stating the obvious, but one of the biggest factors when localising global eLearning is language. We’ve already established that translation is more complicated than swapping one word for another, as it actually takes a lot of interpretation and a real deep dive into what the key learning points are and how they are expressed. To successfully localise the language of your eLearning content, you need to interpret the meaning of the text and produce the equivalent text while maintaining the exact same message.
This is another big check box for localising your global eLearning. Researching the cultural background of your learners and personalising your eLearning content accordingly can lead to more effective learning. It also ensures that your content factors in cultural differences, as what might be deemed appropriate in one culture might not be in another. Trying to adapt the tone of voice to suit the workplace culture is an important aspect of localising your eLearning content – although each workplace will be part of the same organisation, different locations are likely to have their own unique culture.
Ensuring your graphics and images are culturally relevant is a crucial step when localising your global eLearning. If an image or graphic is presented to your learner, and it isn’t culturally relevant, you run a big risk of diluting your key learning points. After all, visual cues are what really brings your eLearning to life, so it’s important your graphics convey the right message within the context of your learners’ culture.
The industry you work in will have a local and global identity, so it’s important your eLearning reflects this. If you can hook in the key local challenges your industry is facing, and bring in an awareness of potential opportunities, you will really take your eLearning to the next level. The industry jargon and vocabulary may also differ depending on the geographical location, so it’s important to factor this in.
This one may sound obvious but making sure you’re using the right tech for the right location is a big consideration. Not all geographical branches of your organisation will have access to the same technology, and what might be widely used tech in one area might not be in another. The first step would be to make sure your learning is compatible with the technology available. The second step is ensuring the technology you implement is the best fit for every location. It’s important to remember that technology challenges may mean you need to consider a different, simpler approach than your original idea.
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These are just a few things to consider when localising your global eLearning. Utilising subject matter experts and learning leaders from the different geographical branches of your organisation is a great way to research local cultures, and ensure your eLearning is effective and engaging for every one of your learners.
If you’re looking for a helping hand with your global eLearning delivery, why not take a look at our whitepaper, Delivering Global Learning?
Kerry Pascall, Head of Digital Learning, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs you can expect some tips on implementing eLearning, what to consider when commissioning eLearning, design tips, software and authoring pros and cons, and general advice on everything eLearning!