How Companies Can Localize Online Corporate Learning Content
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How Global Companies Can Localize Corporate Learning Content

  • 3 Min Read

Localizing learning content will help companies create an interconnected workforce as they expand globally.

The need to localize corporate learning content has never been more pressing.

Technology is increasingly empowering companies of all sizes to break down geographic barriers as well as recruit, train, develop, and retain talent from all over the world. More and more people are also opting to work remotely, and companies are taking notice.

According to an analysis of American Community Survey data by Global Workplace Analytics: 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time; 50% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that’s compatible with at least partial telework; approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency; and fortune 1000 companies around the globe are revamping their space to accommodate the fact that employees are already mobile.

As companies use tech to expand their workforces internationally, and as employees increasingly opt to work remotely, elearning becomes a more crucial cog in the company machine when it comes to on-brand training and learning and development. To be truly effective, however, it’s important that companies looking to grow their global footprint localize their online learning content to create an interconnected workforce that isn’t bound by geographic and cultural obstacles.

“Not only does localizing corporate learning content help with employee onboarding and ensuring a cultural fit across the company, it also helps organizations to keep training consistent across geographies, encourage loyalty and retain talent,” says Sarah Hostetler, International Business Strategist at TechSmith, a software company that helps people to communicate and collaborate, and a D2L Partner.

“Technology and online learning have allowed organizations to have a much wider reach. Essentially, creating and delivering localized learning content expands the number of languages an organization speaks and allows them to be in multiple places at the same time, but it also goes beyond language to address different market nuances.”

Here are four tips Hostetler says global orgs should keep in mind when looking to localize learning content:

Know Your Markets

It is rare when a company can be all things to all people. When looking to localize learning content, focus first on the markets and/or languages into which it makes the most sense to expand content. Depending on your business, there might be some markets that make more sense than others.

Build Your Toolkit

An approach to localization should never be “if you build it, they will come.” There are certainly scenarios when it might make sense for a company to take all its content in one language and translate it into another, but it can be advantageous to start smaller. Look at the critical workflow you expect a user to go through, understand what action you want them to take, and then translate the items that help make that possible. That’s your toolkit.

Expand Your Reach with Video

Video learning content is extremely powerful. Video is not only engaging but also has huge benefits— people only remember 10% of what they hear after three days, however, if a relevant visual is paired with that same information, they retain 65%. 

Not only can a video save you time repeating yourself, it also expands your audience reach. One easy way to localize the video content you’ve already created is to add subtitles or captions. For even more impact, add a separate language audio track. The ability to create on-demand video content allows trainers to overcome time restrictions, travel costs, and other barriers.

Download our free guide on video learning best practices for corporate learning

Go “Glocal”

Many companies that are new to creating their content in multiple languages start with straightforward translation. In some cases, straight translation can be confusing to a native speaker and can often sound too scripted. Localization takes translation one step further. Instead of just making a translated carbon copy of your English content, localizing content (going “glocal”) means being aware of local market nuances and preferences.

For example, when Ikea first entered the American market, they had no idea why their vase sales were so high. What they discovered was that since Americans prefer ice, their European-size glasses were too small and customers were using their vases as drinking glasses. They learned that consumers can differ significantly by region or country, and the insights they gained helped them provide a much more market-catered experience for their customers around the globe.

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