How To Create Online Training Courses For An International Audience
Every member of your geographically dispersed team needs online training resources that cater to their specific needs and job responsibilities. The question is: how can you develop and deploy personalized online training content without excluding certain individuals? How do you give everyone the individualized support they require on a global scale? Here are eight tips to create online training courses for an international audience.
1. Research your target audience
Your international audience may have different backgrounds and experiences. However, they probably have quite a few things in common. For example, each and every corporate learner is participating in your online training course to achieve a specific learning goal or desired outcome, such as improving a practical skill or solving an everyday problem. You can conduct audience research to identify these similarities and then create customized online training courses for your international audience. Surveys, focus groups, and polls also allow you to create corporate learner personas. For instance, particular groups of corporate learners who have common interests or experience levels.
2. Enlist the help of local subject matter experts
Local Subject Matter Experts are knowledgeable about cultural norms, regional regulations, and other key issues that you must consider. In some cases, you may even need an entire team of Subject Matter Experts to cover different aspects of eLearning localization. For example, one to handle compliance topics and another to curate suitable images and graphic elements. If you don't want to hire a dedicated eLearning team, think about outsourcing tasks to local eLearning companies.
3. Use corporate eLearning templates to make localization stress-free
It's wise to create separate versions of your online training course for each region, especially if the corporate learners speak a different language or require different information and skills. However, developing new layouts from scratch can be time-consuming. This is why corporate eLearning templates are a smart choice. Design a master layout that features placeholders and make sure to leave plenty of room for translations and additional online training content. For example, some languages occupy more space than others, but you can include white space on every page to avoid having to redesign the entire corporate eLearning template. Many eLearning authoring tools also have built-in layouts and themes to make the process even easier. Otherwise, you can create a corporate eLearning template on your own by incorporating specific branding elements, color schemes, and themes.
4. Incorporate subtitles or captions
Subtitles and captions are ideal for audio narrations, as you don't have to re-record the script for each version of the online training course. However, they also make your online training course more accessible for corporate learners with special needs, such as those who are hearing impaired or suffer from learning disabilities. It's best to hire a professional translator to tackle this task, due to the fact that they know all the nuances of the language. For example, similar adages or phrases that they can use in lieu of the English counterparts.
5. Include visual representations
Visual representations improve comprehension. They can also clarify a subject matter that was lost in translation, so that there's no confusion. Visual representations may include charts, graphs, images, or infographics. Try to avoid embedding text into the graphic, as you will need to redesign the entire image when it's time to localize. For example, an infographic that includes English text descriptions must be translated for your French audience. Save a master version of the graphic that just includes the visuals, then switch out the text blocks when necessary.
6. Opt for an LMS that supports multiple languages
The top Learning Management Systems boast a broad range of features. However, multiple language support is a top consideration for eLearning localization. You need software that allows you to translate your online training course with ease and deploy different versions. Some LMS platforms even feature geolocation so that you can deliver targeted online training content based on the user's location. For example, corporate learners in the United States receive a different course catalog than your European audience. As such, you can provide every corporate learner with relevant online training materials that cater to their needs, instead of making your international audience search through your offerings to find online training courses that pertain to them.
7. Offer social media support resources
Social media groups, online discussions, and video sharing platforms provide international audiences with a personalized support system. They can share information with peers and gain valuable feedback from anywhere in the world. Social media also facilitates online group collaboration and communication skills. Furthermore, corporate learners can find like-minded individuals who have the same interests or training concerns. For best results, create distinct social media groups or forums for each learning group. As an example, one group may consist of corporate learners from your compliance online training course, while another includes members of your sales online training workshop. This helps to ensure that participants are working toward a common learning goal or objective.
8. Consider the cultural significance of images and graphics
Certain images may be acceptable or instantly recognizable in some cultures, but offensive in others. For this reason, it is essential to consider the cultural significance of every image, graphic, or media element in your online training course design. Your local experts can help you in this department, as they are well-versed in the cultural taboos and norms. In addition, avoid images that spark negative controversy or detract from the online training experience. You want to leave a lasting impression on your international audience, but not for all the wrong reasons.
International learners come from different backgrounds and have unique online training needs. However, you can still offer every corporate learner the information and skills they require by focusing on the individual as well as the whole. Use these 8 tips to go global and provide optimal online training experiences for every member of your international audience.
About the author: Christopher Pappas
Christopher Pappas is the Founder of eLearning Industry Inc, which is the leading publishing platform that delivers inspiring, industry-specific content to eLearning professionals. Christopher holds an MBA and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.