E-learning is part of our daily lives. As a result, people all over the world have increasingly become knowledge consumers. In this context, online course creators have to think globally and design learning opportunities that surpass geographical limits.

In fact, the need for information has opened new doors for knowledge entrepreneurs to enter new markets due to the blurring of physical boundaries.

The content of the vast majority of online courses is in English. However, people enrolled in these courses may not be native English speakers. Even those who speak and understand the language very well may not fully grasp all its intricacies at some point. That’s why you should consider creating e-learning content in more than one language.

What is multi-language e-learning content?

Multi-language e-learning content is the content that is adjusted to meet both the academic and cultural needs of different learners located in various parts of the world.

Creating multilingual content goes beyond having it translated from one language to another. You have to align evolving e-learning individual needs and cultural particularities to offer course content suitable for a particular region or country.

Adapting content from a cultural perspective is called localization. This involves translation and adjusting content to reach relevant local standards of meaning, and it ensures your course content reaches your audience as originally intended.

Why you should consider creating multi-language e-learning content

As a knowledge entrepreneur, you can grow your business beyond geographical boundaries.

In this context, there are a few reasons why you should consider creating a multilingual course:

  • A wider audience
  • Increased revenue
  • Inclusivity
  • Accessible learning

Providing course content in multiple languages helps you reach a wider audience by working within people’s cultural framework. This, in turn, increases your revenue by offering learning solutions tailored to a different market. Moreover, when learners can choose a language for learning, you’re opening your course to various people who may not know English very well, if at all. The added bonus is that these people probably don’t have a similar solution in their country, to begin with. Overall, you manage to make knowledge accessible to various learners worldwide without automatically using English as the default language.


Read more: How to design accessible learning content with your LMS


The PROs

Creating a multi-language online course brings many benefits for yourself, your audience, and, ultimately, your business. It can make you a renowned figure in your field of expertise and allow you to create a global community of learners.

  • Benefits for the instructor
    • Make a name for yourself internationally
    • Become relevant in a global market
    • Create an international community of learners
  • Benefits for your audience
    • Facilitate learning in the language of choice
    • Engage and motivate learners
    • Increase retention and completion rates
  • Benefits for your business
    Reach new markets
  • Expand your business
  • Increase your revenue.

The CONs

A multilingual course requires time, dedication, and preparation. You can opt for a mere translation of your English course in the target language, but that may not always be the best solution. People may get the big picture of your course, but the sensitivities and regulations of their local culture may not be addressed.

You can take things one step further with localization, but that can also come with some challenges:

Knowing your audience and their language needs — This is the first step to take when you intend to go global. You need to do your researcher to find details about your audience and their culture. In this way, you’ll be able to provide relevant content for them.


Read more: Top 7 Research tips to know before creating your online course


Transferring content in the target language — You can create content using simple, clear, and concise English to transfer it in different languages quickly. To avoid working multiple times on the same content, you can use subtitles for video and audio materials. This way, you’ll reuse your media content, which is more time and cost-efficient.

Choosing a suitable authoring tool — The next important aspect to consider is choosing an appropriate authoring tool that facilitates the transfer of your content in another language. The tool has to cover, for instance, layout features for wordy languages or with right-to-left reading.

Turning to native speakers to review the final product — When you finish translating your content and localizing it, you can turn to the help of native speakers for the final review. This step is necessary to ensure your content is, by no means, offensive or inappropriate, but most of all, relevant in terms of local rules.


Read more: 9 Tips for working with freelancers to grow your online course business


Guidelines for multi-language e-learning courses

Expanding your e-learning business through multilingual content is no easy task. To make things easier, here are a few guidelines to follow:

Pre-plan your course. When creating your content, always use simple sentence structures because these are easier to be translated and localized in other languages.

Create reusable media content. To reduce the time and cost of creating content in different languages, create videos and infographics without any text from the get-go. You can use subtitles for videos and images, symbols and icons for infographics. This way, you avoid extra costs incurred from voice-overs and even new content in various languages altogether.


Read more: What you need to know about voice-overs in e-learning


Be culturally relevant and sensitive. Your course has to be thoroughly designed down to every detail. For instance, some images, symbols, and icons useful for conveying meaning and improving retention can be offensive in some cultures. Likewise, some colors can trigger specific feelings and attitudes, thus increasing or decreasing your learners’ engagement and motivation. That’s why you need to provide appropriate content that resonates with the culture of your audience.

All in all

Multi-language e-learning content allows you to expand your business and increase revenue while offering learners access to education in their native language. It contributes to a more inclusive e-learning environment, which, after all, is what the internet should be about.

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