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Localization in eLearning-Tips and Best Practices

June 27, 2018 | By Asha Pandey


Localization in eLearning-Tips and Best Practices

Organizations opt for localization in eLearning to meet specific expectations of their employees (learning in a language they prefer), or to address new markets.

In this blog, I share a set of tips and best practices that can help you manage localization of your eLearning courses effectively and successfully.

What is Localization in eLearning?

Localization in eLearning is the process of converting the master course (often in English or the first course) into different languages.

  • Sometimes, the process may be limited to only translation, and the other assets like the audio, video, images, examples, case studies, and assessments may remain unchanged.
  • On the other hand, localization in eLearning can also include the specific adaptation for a region wherein besides the translation, the region-specific nuances are incorporated in the localized eLearning course.
    • This would be reflected in having region-specific audio, video, images, examples, and case studies.
    • It may even include region specific assessments.
    • Besides language translation, this region-specific adaptation also focuses on mapping region-specific cultural nuances into the localized version.

What Are the Key Benefits of Localization in eLearning?

For multinational companies, the key benefit localization in eLearning offers is that you can reach out to your employees in different countries in the language they understand and prefer to learn in.

For businesses, localization in eLearning offers access to a wider market they may not have been able to service.

What Tips and Best Practices Can You Use as You Embark on Localization in eLearning?

Localization of eLearning should not be an afterthought. It needs to be identified upfront as you begin the development of the master eLearning course.

Here is my list of top 6 best practices and multiple associated tips that you can use:

Best Practice 1: Provisioning for Breathing Space in the Master eLearning Course

As the length of the sentences in the translated course will not be identical to the master course, you need to have adequate room to fit in the extra sentence length in the same design.


  1. It is a good practice to validate this and plan for the required spacing upfront during your master course development.
  2. Also, it pays to avoid too many boxes in the master courses that may cause content spillages in the localized versions.
  3. Additionally, keeping the sentences short helps you manage the run length of the translated sentences to a large degree. This also reduces your effort on formatting.

Best Practice 2: Provisioning for Effort on Formatting

Given the differences in sentence length across languages, you need to maintain the formatting of sentences across the course.


  1. Do plan for extra effort on this formatting exercise.
  2. It is a good practice to have a linguistic review done at this stage to ensure that during formatting you break sentences at an appropriate and logical point.

Best Practice 3: Addressing Specific Aspects for Certain Languages

For languages like Arabic that read from right to left, you need to plan for the related aspects that are specific to this format.


  1. Along with the master course design, also create the localized version design (including the banner, footer, menu and so on). This validation will help you identify any changes that may be necessary in the master to handle the localized version.
  2. During this exercise, do validate the placement of instructions and prompt texts and ensure that they map as effectively in the localized version.

Best Practice 4: Using the Right Imagery and Icons

Even though you are addressing the employees of the same organization in different countries, it is important to use the images and icons that are truly global. Otherwise, the learners will miss what they convey or get an altogether different meaning (not what you had planned).


  1. During the development of the master eLearning course, identify these aspects (images and icons) and ensure that they are either truly global or maintain a tracker that you can use to identify equivalent instances in respective languages.
  2. At the beginning, do identify any acronyms or any specific terms that would not be translated into the respective languages. Maintain this list for an easy validation.

Best Practice 5: Maintaining Cultural Appropriateness

This is a highly significant aspect of localization that needs an expert’s validation.


  1. Besides seeking an expert’s advice, you can also do a focus group testing to ensure your localized eLearning courses are culturally appropriate.
  2. Similar to the other best practices, this too should be planned upfront.

Best Practice 6: Selecting Authoring Tools That Are Localization-Friendly

Today, you have a choice of several authoring tools that ease off the process of localization of eLearning courses. With a single click, you can export your content in various formats (Word document, XLIFF, and Text file), localize them, and place them back into your eLearning courses with minimal effort.

We at EI use the following authoring tools:

  • Adobe Captivate
  • Trivantis Lectora
  • Articulate Storyline
  • Articulate Rise
  • CrossKnowledge Mohive
  • dominKnow Claro
  • iSpring


I hope this blog provides practical pointers that you can use to successfully localize your eLearning courses. If you have any queries or need any specific support, do contact at apandey@eidesign.net.

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Asha Pandey
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