Creating great eLearning content for a global organization means balancing a consistent corporate message with the individual needs of different markets. In this article, we take a look at five authoring tool features that will help global organizations keep eLearning projects economical and effective.
5 Authoring Tool Features Essential for Efficient Global eLearning Projects
1. Minimize repeat effort by building multilingual courses
2. Use display conditions to serve regional differences
3. Build once for the device requirements of different markets
4. Centralize resources by putting everything in one place
5. Empower local authors to build localized content
1) Minimize Repeat Effort by Building Multilingual Courses
Are you looking to find efficiencies in your content translation process? A good starting point is the ability to make changes that affect all language versions of a course seamlessly. If your eLearning authoring tool only allows you to build separate per-language courses, you’ll be in a sticky situation whenever content has to change. Global organizations will want to work with an authoring tool that allows them to build a single course that lets learners select the language version they need.
One Gomo client works in 85 different languages with a variety of different approaches. In some markets, this company uses Gomo’s XLIFF import and export tool to obtain a full transcript of the course to be shared with its translation partners. This file can then be returned and re-uploaded in the system. Some translators work directly in the platform thanks to Gomo’s collaboration features, populating each asset as they go.
It’s important to have a wide range of options in this area. Can you build different per-region question banks? Can language selections set variables that display or hide content that isn’t relevant to certain language users? Make sure to research these capabilities before committing to a tool.
2) Use Display Conditions to Serve Regional Differences
Language use won’t always neatly align with the diverse cultural and regulatory needs of your different offices. An English-speaking employee on the east coast of the US may need to know slightly different information from one in London (or another in Los Angeles).
At first glance, it might seem that catering to these regional variations could complicate an economical approach. Thankfully, display conditions can help you keep everything in a single file.
By allowing learners to indicate they’re from a certain office or team, you can easily set a custom variable and service pages or specific assets relevant to them (while hiding those that are irrelevant).
3) Build Once for the Device Requirements of Different Markets
The days when everything digital would be exclusively consumed on a desktop (or laptop) computer are a distant memory for Americans. Producing desktop-only eLearning content has become nonsensical for many organizations, and this only becomes more true when working internationally. In countries such as China or India, where home computer ownership was never the norm, mobile internet usage is at 62% and 77% respectively.
This isn’t to say that you should start authoring mobile-only eLearning, either. After all, the mobile/desktop split in the US is about 47%/49%—desktop usage remains high in offices (and then there’s the case of countries like Russia and Germany, where desktops are more entrenched in general).
No one screen type is more important—and that’s exactly the point! Multi-device eLearning authoring is essential to cover all bases without the duplication of effort that would otherwise be necessary. When your objective is to save time and money with your authoring tool, you want to author a course once, and leave it up to the learner to do the ‘how, when, and where’ of consuming the content.
4) Centralize Resources by Putting Everything in One Place
Even when working in a single office location, passing around different files between course contributors can be a real headache. This is especially true if you’re stuck using a desktop-based content authoring tool. As soon as an international element is involved—whether that’s a single localization expert or an entire regional team editing or authoring new courses—that headache can be magnified.
Cloud-based authoring tools solve all the logistical issues that multiple contributors present, regardless of where they’re based. A basic tool will get you shared, browser-based access to the editor, and your courses. Look out for more advanced features, such as a centralized asset database, shared theme and template management, and robust collaboration tools that help you assign roles to different contributors.
5) Empower Local Authors to Build Localized Content
Working effectively with local teams isn’t just about standardizing and dictating an approach: it’s also important that teams are empowered to create unique courses themselves. Sometimes there are subjects that are only relevant in a limited number of markets. Sometimes the messaging of a course requires an entirely different approach from market to market.
A shared, cloud-based environment means that the authors and editors of great courses can be located anywhere—and your learners can benefit from the insight of the most appropriate experts.