E-learning is one of the modern electronic tools to access education outside a regular classroom. E-learning can be an educational degree, program, or course that is accessible online. However, it is not limited to school courses. It is now a very effective tool to deliver training programs to many people around the world.
Users call e-learning by different names, including Internet learning, online learning or computerized electronic learning. E-learning is more interactive, with someone interacting, communicating and grading the user’s participation. Learners are also given assignments as well as tests. In some programs, learners cannot advance to the next lesson without completing the current one. E-learning is portable, flexible and scalable. It can be reused and repurposed to fit the needs of learners.
The core objective of e-learning is to improve the manner of learning to develop knowledgeable, motivated and highly-skilled people. Another advantage of e-learning is that it enables people to learn at a convenient time and place.
The properties of learning make it one of the most accessible and effective methods to deliver a learning program.
- Each e-learning course is streamlined, delivering the right information based on the need of the learner.
- The program is often designed with several objectives in mind.
- The lessons are created specifically for the needs of the target audience.
- An e-learning program is created by subject matter experts.
- The self-paced lessons can reach a larger audience.
- Each lesson is followed by an assessment.
The benefits of e-learning
E-learning encourages collaboration and connectivity between instructors and learners. The program motivates, extends opportunities, and provides interactivity and flexible learning. It provides just-in-time learning anytime, anywhere. For any company, it reduces training time and costs while providing uniform training for their workforce that is geographically apart.
E-learning is better than a seminar because it can adopt to learning strategies that differ by user. Various interactivities can be included in the learning modules, which are applicable to real situations in the workplace to greatly help the learners.
E-learning is foreseen as the future in the education and training industry. In a Forbes article, the projection is that by 2025, the e-learning industry will reach $325 billion. In 2015, it reached its projected revenue of $107 billion.
The huge growth of the e-learning industry is mainly due to the trends in training, hiring and skills in the workplace. With the continuing and rising competition within the workforce, it is vital for each employee to upgrade their skills and continue to learn to ensure their success at work.
E-learning is self-paced, which is ideal for most people, since each person learns at a different pace. It is also called just-in-time or on-demand learning because the learning pace is not constrained. It is possible for a learner to study whenever he or she needs training. In reality, e-learning has been around since 1924, but the specific term (e-learning) was used initially in 1999. E-learning tools became industry standard that experienced rapid growth from 2006 to 2010.
Students access e-learning programs to be an expert in a specific subject while professionals use e-learning courses to improve their skills and gain more advantage in their careers.
Effective and efficient corporate training
Companies now look at e-learning for employee training. It gives them more benefits because globalization has allowed them to penetrate new markets outside their home country. With each market they target, they have to deal with a different culture, with their employees speaking different languages, follow different traditions and beliefs and even have their own way of performing their assigned tasks.
Prior to e-learning, conducting employee training was costly and difficult. The company had to find a trainer, gather and prepare the training materials, book a training venue and schedule employees to attend the training, which may require employees to travel to the training site. The company paid for the training, the food as well as travel and lodging expenses. Employees had to be absent from work during the days they were at the training seminar. If the company had a bigger workforce, the seminar would have to be scheduled for several days to accommodate all the employees.
So, if the company, especially a manufacturing company, has several branches in different cities, the cost of employee training would be astronomical. And there is no guarantee that the employees will retain everything they have learned and that they will be able to use what they learned in their work. The delivery of the training program will also vary depending on the skills of the trainer as well as the reception of the trainees.
With e-learning, the company can have one training program for its workers. The creator of the program usually makes a needs analysis to ensure that the program delivers everything that workers need to enhance their knowledge and skills that are related to their jobs. The employees can access the program anytime and their performance analyzed and assessed. They are able to receive feedback at every phase of the e-learning program, so they are motivated. The interactivities are related to their work, which will improve their performance.
For different territories, the language of the e-learning modules can be changed, which means localizing the e-learning program.
Translating any type of written content from one language to another is a process of localization. With the number of companies going global, it is essential for company and product materials to be localized.
Companies provide training for their employees. E-learning allows companies to have a training program that can be adapted to different cultures. Localizing e-learning offers a valuable learning experience to the learners. If the e-learning program is localized, the translators should consider the varied norms and conventions of the different target audiences.
Related: This is part of our Localization series. To learn more about localization, go to our Ultimate Guide to Localization.
Reaching new markets
Whether you are an e-learning company creating a custom-designed program for a client or preparing a generic e-learning material for specific subjects, localization will help in reaching new markets and wider audiences. Here are some tips on how to localize e-learning materials.
1. Understand the target users
Before finalizing the content, ensure that you thoroughly understand the target audience through research. You should understand the cultural background of the target users to enable you to properly translate and customize the content. It is important to consider the cultural elements so their learning experience will be appropriate and effective.
2. Use culturally-appropriate elements
Similar to other types of localization, it is essential to use colors, images and graphics that are culturally-appropriate. Each culture has a different way at looking at things and attaches other meanings to objects that may look normal and acceptable in other cultures. It is likewise essential to use graphics that are relevant and realistic to the location, for example, Japanese images for the Japanese market. You should always keep in mind that you are communicating with persons coming from backgrounds that are different from yours and whose cultural preferences are not the same.
3. Work with professionals
When localizing your e-learning program, it is critical that you ensure the accuracy of the target language. Therefore, veer away from the temptation of online translation tools and work only with professional translators and subject matter experts. This will ensure not only the accuracy of the translation but also the optimization of the course, making the entire learning program understandable to any user.
4. Use real world scenarios
When designing activities and using examples, stories, simulations and scenarios, see to it that they are relevant and relatable. Use simulations for processes that employees are going to tackle and examples that are relevant to their jobs. Ensure that the stories you relate are from actual employee experiences specific to the company.
Another thing you have to remember is to use a Learning Management System (LMS) that supports localization, with an authoring tool that facilitates faster implementation of changes.
Why localize your e-learning program?
Since we’re on the subject of localizing e-learning, it is vital to know the benefits of localization. These benefits can help you make the right decision to localize.
1. Reach more learners
When learning modules are localized into any language, the learning experience of users becomes hassle-free. It gives you a better chance of reaching out to learners who want to learn but cannot find good and relevant materials in their language. Your profit is maximized, as more learners will be able to use your e-learning modules.
2. Improve retention rates and acquisition of knowledge
Localization makes your e-learning program more effective because the learners can access them in their own language. Foreign workers assigned to other countries will also benefit since they have the chance to learn or train using the same program in the language they understand.
3. Clients obtain reliable and consistent results
If the e-learning is customized for a client, the content can be available in varied languages, depending on the languages spoken and understood by their employees. Localization ensures that the employees are using the same learning or training materials, allowing them to properly absorb the lessons. Better quality assurance, higher employee performance and company efficiency are just some of the elements that will receive improvement due to localization of e-learning.
Localizing e-learning provides you (as an e-learning company) and your clients several advantages in reaching global markets. Planning is essential since the materials are for learning or training. You have to ensure that every element that goes into the e-learning program is appropriate and relevant to the target locales and users.
Work with e-learning experts
As e-learning is designed to educate and train, it is important that everything in it is based on relevant issues and facts. Localizing your e-learning gives you more advantage, whether you are an e-learning company providing e-learning modules or you are a client wanting to have an effective training program that your employees located in different parts of the world will be able to access in their own language. When you need localization services, you only have to contact Day Translations, Inc. We have native speakers who are subject matter experts, ready to help with your e-learning localization anytime and anywhere. Our translators are available 24/7, every day of the year. Call us at at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us.
Image Copyright: Andriy Popov / 123RF Stock Photo