E-learning has become increasingly popular all over the world in the past decade or so. It has gone from a service only a few educational institutions could provide a service that is available easily for low or no cost to people the world over. It is slowly becoming a tool to reach remote peoples and populations and teach them without the need for multiple teachers at these locations. It has slowly made education more accessible and easy to use for students of all ages.
Localization was a term used mainly for marketing and sales for a long time. It was used to describe marketing content that was created specifically for communities being targeted by the content rather than generic content that was used in multiple communities and regions. The idea of localization is to make content easy to comprehend and process, no matter who the target audience is at any point.
Why localization of e-learning content is crucial
Localization of e-learning content is crucial because that is the only way to explain concepts to students and help them understand. For example, if you are teaching a group of students in a remote Kenyan village, you cannot use Starbucks or Wendy’s as an example to explain a concept to them. These names and brands are alien to them and they will not be able to grasp the concept because the example used to explain it is not one they can identify with. Instead, if the class uses a concept from the local village or something specific to Kenya, the students would be able to grasp the concept being explained. That is exactly what localization of e-learning refers to.
Here are a few more reasons to make e-learning content localized:
Localization of content makes learning online inclusive for people from around the world.
Localization of content ensures you do not break any laws in any country because of language barriers and such.
Localization of content improves overall understanding of concepts and content, helping improve the entire learning and teaching process.
Localization of content ensures there are no cultural, ethnic or religious slights to any community targeted by the e-learning material and fosters sensitivity.
Tips for localizing e-learning content effectively
There are several ways in which you can make online learning content accessible, simple, and easy to understand for your entire audience, no matter how diverse the audience may be.
Conduct research and surveys in the community where you plan to introduce your e-learning material to understand the people in the community better. This will help you create the right kind of content for them.
Give translation options for as many local languages as possible. Ensure the translations are accurate and there are no errors or changes in meaning from one language to another.
Avoid local examples and references from one community if your target audience is global to avoid comprehension issues.
There are several international standards for writing units of measurement and ways of formatting and presenting content. Use one of these to ensure the content you create is globally comprehensible.
Keep in mind differences in learning across communities and design content for each community accordingly.
Steer clear of proverbs, idioms, and specific cultural references and examples that may not make sense globally.
Be sure to include subtitles in all learning content, and don’t forget to localize them.
With learning going global, localization has become crucial to improve learning and reduce errors in understanding and conveying ideas and concepts correctly. Localization of e-learning content is the only way such online content can be used globally for learning and teaching without any gaps in comprehension or relevance.