Designing Online Courses for a Global Audience

If you wish to scale your business to a global level, then there are a few factors you need to consider right from the start. In the case of developing and selling online courses, selling to a global audience is more than just translating the content to a new language. There are courses that are more relevant to some cultures than others, and courses that are universally popular.

When you plan on targeting a global audience, you need to examine all of the areas where an online course can be adapted to better suit people from all over the world. These five steps will give you a clearer idea on how to design your online course so that it caters to a much wider audience.

Tips on designing online courses for a global audience

Make them relevant

As stated earlier not all courses are relevant to a global audience. If your company designs online courses and wants to scale to include a global audience, then choose subjects that are universal. For example, a course on traditional marketing strategies might not work for a global audience because marketing needs to be rooted in culture to be impactful. However, a course that gives tips on improving digital marketing strategy could work for a global audience because the coursework is based on how to collect and interpret data which is more objective.

Make them engaging

Once you have a course that is relevant to a global audience you need to ensure that the course is engaging and interesting to your target audience. One of the ways to do this is to have the course translated into the local language so that it can be easier to understand. Using phrases and colloquial terms that the target audience identifies with also makes coursework more engaging. How formal or informal the coursework structure needs to be will also depend a lot on the local culture and how education is perceived in that region.

Localize the language

Along with translating a course, also comes localizing the subject matter. A local who is fluent in the original language and who understands the target language and culture should be involved at this stage. An example of localization would be where examples are better suited to the local culture and units of measurement are converted to the locally accepted forms. If your course is going to feature video content then another thing to keep in mind is body language and how this differs between cultures.

Use appropriate images

When including images within the coursework it is important that the images used are not only relevant to the target audience but also appropriate. Images that could hurt local sentiments should be avoided. Again, hiring a local to work on this part is very helpful. What might seem like an appropriate example for that culture to an outsider might actually come across as being stereotypical or even racist to the target audience.


As with any form of localization, the coursework should be tested with a sample of the target audience before being released. A cross-section of the intended customers can be involved in trying out the online course and giving their feedback. With the help of the feedback based on parameters such as; ease of understanding the subject matter, whether they found it interesting, and if the found the course useful – the course can be adapted.

Following these five tips can make designing courses for a global audience easier.

Why use Localize?

Designing an online course and making it both interesting and engaging in one language can take up a considerable amount of time. When you throw in having to translate that content into even more languages, you’ll want an ally to help automate and manage this process. This is where Localize comes in. Signup for a free trial and see first hand how our powerful solutions can both save you time and make this pain point easier on you and your business.

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