It is no secret that the localization of eLearning is the next big trend for Learning and Development teams.  With many companies having a broad and diverse footprint across the globe, and with many borders currently closed, the need to ensure eLearning is localized and contextualised is more important than ever.

Localization allows companies to provide a uniform message with a greater impact.  By maximising the effectiveness of the learning, the ROI is greater, there is an uplift in morale, and improved retention of skills and knowledge.

But what does localization actually mean? 

Anyone who has conducted any sort of training, whether face-to-face or online, will know that the mantra KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE is the key ingredient to successful outcomes. Traditionally this involves finding out what the learners’ motivations are, what their preferred learning styles are, what their previous knowledge is, and their backgrounds and expectations. Knowing the audience is at the individual and cohort level and shows the respect that adult learners expect and deserve.  

Localization goes beyond translating.  It involves adapting content sometimes at the micro level to ensure the message is relatable. This could include specific voice over intonations, gestures, colours, imagery, icons and symbols, abbreviations and idioms.  Even font type can have an effect. The latest slick font from head office may have no relevance or appeal to your far-flung audience who are only exposed to 5 or 6 different fonts in their day. The audience may be most receptive to Comic Sans!

Furthermore, understanding and acknowledging cultural values is extremely important but this needs to be balanced with corporate values. 

To be economical when localizing, you need to be efficient and structured in your design and there is considerable research involved.  Instructional designers can often be desk bound however where possible we have our team visit and experience each worksite, meet the employees and gain an understanding of the look and feel that will have the greatest impact. 

At Globe we travel a lot and we enjoy seeing and experiencing the diversity on the planet.  We know it is these differences that make life exciting. To quote Groove Armada “If everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other”.