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elearning localization

What Is e-Learning Localization?

With the online education market estimated to reach a revenue of almost 2 billion U.S. dollars in 2024, online courses race to meet the new record global demand. Yet, they often fail to relate to learners internationally. Students decide to switch off, engagement rates drop, and enrollments decline when the content is not adapted to local needs. 

The solution to this problem lies in a specialized process known as eLearning localization. In simple terms, this process involves translating, culturalizing, and contextualizing the online course as a whole. It allows the courseware to better match the language, cultural norms, and preferences of learners from different backgrounds. Its aim is to remove any barriers faced by learners online.

You have come to the right place if you want to learn the ins and outs of the eLearning localization process. We will be exploring the components, types, and target audiences of online learning. Not to forget the benefits, costs, and best practices for successfully localizing the elearning process. 


Understanding eLearning Localization

eLearning localization tailors online educational content to meet the needs and preferences of the learning audience. These needs can be language, cultural, or regional and may apply to students or employees. The process involves modifying certain aspects of the online course. This includes materials and software to make it relevant to the background of the target learner.


eLearning localization vs eLearning translation

eLearning localization goes well beyond mere translation of educational content. It should not be confused with the more limited process of eLearning translation. The latter simply provides translated courses to fit the language needs of e-learners.

In contrast, eLearning localization tailors the course to the target learners by translating not only the language in which the course is delivered, but also images, fonts, dates, tone, idioms, currency, and many other important details. 

While eLearning translation focuses on retaining the meaning of the material, the goal of the eLearning localization process is for learners of different profiles to grasp the meaning within their cultural context.


What Content Gets Localized In eLearning?

eLearning localization involves more than just translating the content. Some courses require complete content localization, depending on the culture and other factors. In other courses, localizing a few aspects suffices. 

The decision as to what content you should localize is yours to make. But you should consider several aspects in order to localize an e-course successfully:

  • Learners’ English Proficiency
  • Cultural match
  • Learners’ Age
  • Your budget
  • Region’s market
  • Timeline 

After carefully considering those aspects, then you can decide what content gets localized and what remains the same. Here are the most common aspects of the course that get localized in the process:

These features can localize the visual aspect:

  • Graphics, 
  • Images, 
  • Colors,
  • Fonts.

When it comes to the written and spoken language, consider these features to localize: 

  • Idioms, 
  • Spelling variations,
  • Slang,
  • Audio voice-overs,
  • Video subtitles,
  • Assessments. 

When it comes to contextual details, interface elements, and formats, then consider: 

  • Examples,
  • References,
  • Gestures,
  • Buttons,
  • Menus,
  • Dates, 
  • Units of measurement,
  • Currencies. 

And finally, when it comes to supporting materials, localize:

  • Marketing assets,
  • Tests,
  • Documents.


What are the Different Types of eLearning Audiences?

The growing popularity of eLearning allows organizations to reach diversified audiences across regions and roles. In the modern world, eLearning audiences comprise people of different backgrounds and various career stages. They all have unique goals and aspirations.

These people also have different cultural perspectives that inform comprehension. Before localizing the content, consider the different types of eLearning audiences:

  • Corporate staff
  • New hires
  • Product demos
  • University students
  • Compliance Training
  • Reseller Networks
  • Technology Training


What Are the Benefits of Implementing E-Learning Localization?

Remote work and online learning are expanding globally. Localizing eLearning provides impactful, consistent, and effective training for employees and students on a global scale. Translating and tailoring online courses offers several benefits for remote learners and course providers alike, such as:

Overall better learning experience: accounting for cultural and language nuances, learners can more easily understand and apply the material.

Diverse training modules: localized platforms provide various highly-relevant content to learners of different cultural backgrounds.

Broader audience reach: the localized courses are accessible and relevant to international audiences. 

Cost efficient: localizing online courses is more affordable than creating separate localized training courses.

Higher ROI: e-learning localization learns to increase learner engagement and better training outcomes; thus, higher return on investment.


How Much Does E-Learning Localization Cost?

Localizing e-learning courses for new markets is an investment. However, it remains extremely cost-effective compared to building entirely new training programs. 

The cost of localizing an online course will depend on several factors. These include the languages being targeted and the total word count required for translation. A higher word count will increase the overall cost of the e-learning localization process. 

The media formats, such as audio, video, and graphics, are extra factors that impact the cost. Cultural adaptation and quality testing are also additional factors. 


Tips to Achieve Effective eLearning Localization 

Below, we have included tips from experts to help you achieve effective eLearning localization for your online courses:

  • Check if the content contains any linguistic mistakes to make sure that the meaning is correctly conveyed. 
  • Modify your content to cater to the specific needs of your target audience, but make sure to retain its originality at the same time.
  • Use only qualitative graphics that connect effectively with your target audience.
  • Find an expert who is aware of the cultural differences of your target audience to avoid offending your target audience.
  • Keep everything simple and relevant to your target audience; don’t make it unnecessarily complicated.
  • Use only one language before localizing to save time and effort.


Closing Thoughts 

As the online education market expands, eLearning localization becomes not just a strategy but a necessity for fulfilling the needs and requirements of learners on a global scale. 

Embracing this process ensures a better overall learning experience. It also leads to a higher ROI and a broader audience reach in the evolving online learning context.

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