E-learning: what is it, and why do you need it?

I wanted to open this blog by saying “unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you probably have heard about the coronavirus”, but I think that even people who live under rocks (or even those who live in underwater caves and don’t have radio or Wi-Fi) will have heard about the coronavirus by now. So, I think I can safely say that the outbreak of this particular virus has caused some awkward situations and a lot of problems, especially in the work environment. It’s not just that you can’t shake hands with your co-workers anymore, which, in my opinion, can be solved easily by a chest-bump (an action in which two people jump up and bump their chests together with force, especially as a humorous expression of admiration for each other). No, I’m talking about more serious issues, like the ban on travelling which prevents people from visiting clients or co-workers who live abroad. Also, people who have caught the virus will need to stay in quarantine, which means more people will have to work from home. 

Now, although sometimes working from home is great (nobody will ever know you’re working in your PJ’s all day), it can be quite an inconvenience as well. What if you need to give a presentation to your co-workers? What if you need to discuss urgent matters with one of your clients who lives in abroad? We have Skype, which is great of course, but that’s not quite enough when you want to give a presentation to a crowd, or if you want to educate or train your employees. 

The solution? 

E-learning (oh yeah). 

So, what is e-learning exactly? E-learning is a learning system that we can obtain via an electronic device. Put simply, it’s online learning (duh). Now, e-learning isn’t some new hype, but something we’ll most certainly be hearing and seeing more of the coming years. And we’ll be using it more, obviously. It’s estimated that within the next thirty years, the world’s population will have increased to over nine billion people. It’s likely that millions of these people will operate and work for international businesses who have their headquarters based on a different continent. 

But, coming back to the current corona situation, e-learning can prove quite useful. Nobody knows how the situation will develop. There’s no denying that it’ll have a great impact on our global economy, and to prevent unnecessary damage, it might be worth considering exploring the options of e-learning for your business. Maybe you want to develop an online training for future employees? Or perhaps you’re already experienced with e-learning, but want to get your training programs and instructions translated? If you’re focused on creating content that’s suitable for global, multilingual teams, there are two important things to bear in mind:

  1. Make sure your content is culturally neutral

Culturally neutral means that you omit any signs, symbols, images or references that either indicate or suggest particular affiliations with certain areas or cultures. It also means excluding any content which may be considered offensive or unsuitable within certain cultural contexts, as well as making sure that colloquial language, abbreviations and specific cultural references are avoided (so no jokes about cows, given that in India these animals are considered holy, and you wouldn’t want to insult the people you’re working with).

  1. Make sure your content is localised

Contrary to what you might think after the previous bit about culturally neutral content, culture specific content can also be a good thing. Sometimes it’s important to adapt content to make sure that they include local cultural elements. This can range from delivering the content in the primary language of the geographical area you’re targeting to the inclusion of culturally specific references (in which case, the cow jokes might not be as insulting as I deemed before). The advantage of this strategy is that the cultural references can encourage readers to fully engage with the content because it feels tailored to them. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, if you want to adapt your content to a different audience, you’ll need to make sure you filter out all the bits that might be considered inappropriate by that specific audience, which may prove costly.

Interested in getting your e-learning content translated or localised? We can help. Ludejo offers translation, localisation and transcreation of all types of text, including e-learning content and instruction manuals. We also offer localization of video and audio files, which means we can provide subtitles or voice-overs for your instruction videos. You can contact us for all European languages. 

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