Do you deliver – or want to deliver – online training in multiple languages?

A multilingual LMS (Learner Management System) is the way companies around the world offer on-demand, flexible training to employees and learner-clients.

An LMS lets you centralise and organise the training you offer. Yet, at the same time, it allows you to create localised versions of your courses so that individual learners can interact with your course materials in the language that makes the most sense to them.

For the best learning outcomes. For scalability. For maximising your global reach. You can’t beat a Learner Management System.

That’s why the LMS has rapidly become the go-to tool for e-learning providers of all shapes and sizes. But is this tool one that would suit your needs? Let’s find out:

What is a multilingual LMS?

A multilingual LMS is a software application that is your single convenient place for organising, documenting, reporting, automating, delivering and tracking your online training courses.

For companies with multilingual teams or multilingual consumer-learners, a multilingual LMS centralises and simplifies the process of onboarding new members of staff, delivering top-up training and much more besides. Using one, you can:

  • Create new courses and instantly disseminate them to your users.
  • Link with your chosen Language Service Provider to have them properly localise your courses for consumer-learners or employee-learners in specific regions.
  • Easily organise your courses and assign courses to individual users.
  • Mesh with physical classroom sessions, meaning the client-side version of your app is everything your employee or user needs to complete their training.
  • Get reports on user scores and a vast array of other data created for you automatically.

If you have ever used a Content Management System (CMS), you will have some idea of how an LMS works.

The added educational focus of an LMS means that one will often include tools that identify learning gaps as well as analyse and report on student data. Others may also make recommendations for individual students based on that analysis.

The multilingual LMS and localisation

As someone with some experience in the field of learning, you will know that the best way to improve learning outcomes is to minimise anything that might distract from the learning process.

For international users, distraction and inconvenience number one will always be learning in a language that is not their native tongue.

A direct translation of the words you have used in your course is not going to be as effective from an educational standpoint. After all, you carefully judged how those words would impart the lesson you are teaching or the information you want to be retained in a very specific way.

To carry the tone, educational value and other elements of your course between languages calls for expert localisation. Only with knowledge of what differs between your native and international audiences in terms of expectations and standard educational practices as well as language can you ensure accessibility and repeatable learning outcomes across the board.

Why should you invest in a multilingual LMS?

There are several reasons why investing in a multilingual LMS is a smart move if you want to deliver any volume of e-learning materials to learners from different global audiences:

1) Simplify organisation

Multiple languages. Multiple courses. Multiple purposes, from general inductee training to specific sales practices. Organising every aspect of every course you deliver can be a serious challenge.

With an LMS, the entire process of organisation is simplified. There is also no risk of losing data and you can collaborate in course creation with ease if your LMS is on the cloud.

2) Maximise accessibility

Mobile learning and other related trends are growing in popularity for the simple reason that they enable people to learn in the way that is best for them, improving learning outcomes.

Using an LMS allows you to maximise your learners’ access to your courses. They can log-in via desktop, by laptop, or even by smartphone or tablet when they’re on-the-go.

This is a huge advantage when you have learners in different time zones too. There is no need to have everyone coordinate to access course materials at times that may not be convenient.

Plus, your LMS will allow your users to ask questions and otherwise get advice or information from a central source.

3) Automate tracking and reporting

All of this asynchronous learning might sound like it could be hard to track. But your LMS is there, providing the ready tools you need to track the progress and performance of individual learners in every region.

You will be tracking the results of individual learners, giving you the chance to offer support and encouragement where necessary. But you are also tracking the effectiveness of your courses themselves.

Data like this is vital for most companies. Especially when you want to assess your courses and highlight areas where you might be able to improve outcomes.

Consistently optimising the training you offer through built-in analytical tools is LMS functionality 101.

4) Allow collaboration and competition

Allowing individual accessibility is one point in favour of Learner Management Systems. Allowing social interaction to improve the learning experience is another. An LMS can open your courses up to:

  1. Collaboration – enable members of your team to work together towards goals, form friendships and enjoy active participation with colleagues they might not normally interact with. This might involve social platforms like the discussion forums built into most LMS platforms. It might also include links to social media platforms or other forums.
  2. Competition – one of the best ways to motivate many team members is a little competition. Gamifying the learning process has been shown to achieve great results, instituting in-app achievements and scoring so that team members in offices around the world can achieve a little fame and generate friendly rivalries.

5) Minimise training costs

The standard costs of employee training – staff time, classroom rentals, online website domain rental, the design and printing costs for physical learning materials – are completely done away with through e-learning. Not to mention the fees you would pay to any external instructor.

No more booking an expensive conference space and printing off a hundred thick employee manuals. Everything is digital.

This approach eliminates travel time and costs for your users too.

6) Minimise e-learning development costs

The costs of further developing your e-learning materials and your system itself after adoption are minimised too.

Because with an LMS, you can quickly and easily add new course content, have it localised, and assign it to the people who need it most all through a central system.

You also have the facility to update your existing courses whenever necessary. In order to follow changes in traditional methods, new evidence or evolving company processes, for instance.

That’s much easier than sending new versions of courses or handout materials to every single learning or training provider in every region you operate in.

7) Reach every team member

Professional localisation (whether in-house through language specialists on your own team or outsourced to your usual Language Service Provider) is a key part of delivering the best learning outcomes.

Using a member of your team who is merely bilingual – or, worse, an automated tool like Google Translate – will actively harm your learning outcomes. Neither of these methods is equipped to properly localise your course content.

That’s because localisation involves adapting every aspect of your course to the norms and expectations of learners who hail from specific regions and cultures. As well as the language your course is presented in, this also includes localising:

  • Imagery you use
  • The tone of your materials
  • References to cultural touchstones and other elements
  • Video, audio, graphics and other elements, possibly re-shooting or using subtitles or dubbing where appropriate
  • User Interface and other aspects of how your course is presented
  • User experience, ensuring this is a relatable and familiar way of learning for people in your target region

The localisation process does require careful project management. This is part of the reason why using a reliable external LSP is the go-to solution for most organisations.

But management is also something that your Learner Management System will help you with, as all language versions of your course will be clearly organised and presented within your LMS.

8) Stay compliant and cohesive

Continually complying with law and regulations in different jurisdictions can be a chore without a centralised management system that allows you to easily monitor and update your courses as rules change.

It sounds like a simple process – and with an LMS, it is. But without this kind of easy update functionality, the number of companies that continue to fall afoul of regional regulations remains high.

This functionality also allows you to easily update your own internal policies and standards as and when they change. This means your team – no matter where in the world they happen to work – are always on one cohesive level as far as your brand standards are concerned.

9) Go global

A well-planned multilingual training program or e-learning course can strengthen your company as a whole, boosting your brand internally as well as externally by ensuring your team lives the standards you expect them to uphold.

To achieve this, localisation should also be planned in advance – ideally through a process of internationalisation. This allows you to ship all of the language versions of your course at the same time, reinforcing to your international team or user base that everyone is treated equally.

How to choose the right LMS for you

Being convinced of the must-have utility of a Learner Management System is one thing. Selecting the right system for your needs is quite another.

Here are a few key questions you can ask yourself when you are choosing your system in order to make sure you get the one that’s right for your organisation:

1) Who is your audience?

Before you start localising your e-learning content using a high-powered LMS, it is worth asking yourself who you are localising your content for.

Employees in some regions might not be as linguistically uniform as you think. Some might prefer to speak a particular dialect or a completely different language based on their cultural background, even though they live within the same region or even the same city as other team members.

Planning for how many languages you are going to need to support at the outset and for at least the near future of your company’s growth and expansion is one of the first things to consider when choosing an LMS.

2) Does it allow for localised navigability?

Not all languages are read from left to right, top to bottom. Will you need to support languages that are read from right to left – like Hebrew, Arabic, Persian or Urdu – either initially or as you expand your operations.

If so, you need to confirm that your LMS will be able to accommodate you.

3) Is it on the cloud?

Cloud-based systems are almost always the best solution for global organisations. Not only do they allow both users and administrators to log in as and when they need it, but they can also provide enhanced security and back-up options.

That’s in addition to facilitating easy collaboration at all levels and the competitive social learning experiences mentioned above.

4) Does it allow learners to select their own language?

Having a system with a geolocation feature – the ability to detect where your user is and guess what language they prefer based on that information – is useful.

But you should still make sure that your user will be able to select their preferred language to receive their training within your LMS. This is important for two reasons:

Firstly, to remove those language barriers in learning. Secondly, bearing in mind that fact that team members in any given region do not necessarily share homogenous cultural or linguistic backgrounds.

5) Will it allow you to input localisations of every part of your course?

It is always worth underscoring the fact that e-learning localisation includes adapting images, audio and video content, the branching training scenarios you’ve used (which may be completely inappropriate or not relevant in different regions) and much more besides – as well as text.

You need to make sure that your LMS will allow you – or your Language Service Provider – to access and edit every element of the course in question. Otherwise, you risk delivering a solution that is not properly adapted to your audience and will not maximise those all-important learning outcomes.

Planning on buying an LMS? Or just need to get the best from the one you’ve already invested in?

Asian Absolute specialises in e-learning localisation. Join the companies in diverse industries that use us to deliver the very best learning outcomes for their multilingual teams and users.

Start a free consultation with us today. Send us a few details about your next project to get a free, no-obligation quote.