The COVID-19 pandemic has turned e-learning from a nice-to-have into a must-have almost overnight. Corporate Learning and Development departments are looking for ways to develop and localize new e-learning packages in the most efficient way. Here are a few tips on how to do that.

It’s safe to say that corporate learning is going through a challenging time right now. Trainers and learning departments are looking for efficient ways to upskill their workforce in times of social distancing and travel bans. Even today, in countries where employees are starting to go back to the office, there is a mixed situation of in-office and remote workers that makes face-to-face learning more difficult.

e-learning to the rescue

For many global companies, e-learning is gradually becoming the new normal. The benefits of e-learning that were already obvious before COVID-19 only seem to have intensified over the past few months. Not only does e-learning help to reduce travel cost and keep training-related expenditure under control, students have also embraced it with more confidence. They have experienced that e-learning allows them to learn at their own pace, from behind their laptops, be it at work or at home.

The possibilities for offering engaging content today are abundant, ranging from video, animation, interactive quizzes and games, to even VR and AR. But at the same time, global L&D professionals will want to keep their development and localization costs under control.

The following five tips will set them on their way to realize both goals:

1. Make sure that source content is localization-friendly

Content that has been created with localization in mind from the start will be easier and more cost-effective to localize. For example, source documents should be designed so that more wordy languages will still fit inside the dedicated text space. English texts tend to be shorter than many other Western languages, including Dutch, German and French, but longer than Korean, Japanese or Finnish for example.

2. Be smart with layout

But localizing the design of an e-learning course is so much more than just making sure the translation fits into the text box. Localization also focuses on using the right formatting and colors, semantics and cultural visual elements. Localizing for right-to-left languages for example (like Urdu and Arabic) will not only require the text to be mirrored, but the entire presentation as well. For example, a reference to the image on the right will become a reference to the image on the left.

3. Use the possibilities of voice

Including voice and video in the learning process helps increase student engagement and allows for more efficient memory recall. Making a voice-based video production available to a global audience can typically be done by adding a voice-over or by subtitling the video. From a cost standpoint, it can also be interesting to explore the possibilities of today’s AI-driven synthetic voices. Text-to-speech technology has significantly improved over the years with numerous customization possibilities, such as speed adjustment, emphasis, and even the selection of different accents. 

4. Synchronize text and animations

Adding voice to an animated presentation or video also means paying attention to synchronization during localization. The timings of on-screen animations will need to be synched with the spoken text for each language separately, so that visual elements that support the text appear at exactly the same time when the corresponding content is spoken.

5. Use the appropriate authoring system

Authoring tools for e-learning courses come in all shapes and sizes. For e-learning developers, it’s important to consider the compatibility of these solutions with the tools of their translation or localization provider. Not only should an authoring tool allow for easy export of the localizable components into an editable format, but afterwards the translated versions also need to be imported back into the authoring tool.

Another consideration that content developers should make is to clearly differentiate between written and spoken content in the export, making it easier for translators to take into account the specificities of each text mode.

Get ready for the new e-learning reality

Maybe COVID-19 has made your company realize that there are other options next to face-to-face classroom training. And just maybe you are looking for a partner to help you develop and localize content for online training. If so, Yamagata Europe can help to do this in the most efficient way.

Apart from the translation, we can support our customers with the following e-learning localization services:

  • Transcription of spoken text
  • Subtitles and voice dubbing
  • Human voice recordings or AI-driven synthetic voices
  • Layout localization
  • Animation and synchronization
  • Subject matter expertise on various topics: we can help you with your product trainings but also offer support for internal corporate content such as health, safety and environmental trainings.
  • Technical knowledge of various authoring systems, including Articulate Storyline, Articulate Rise, Adobe Captivate, … or we can also handle content from your own custom-made learning management system.

Want to know more? Then let’s discuss your e-learning plans.