Localized Microlearning: the Answer to Training a Global Workforce?

Localized Microlearning: the Answer to Training a Global Workforce?

The rise of self-directed learning

YouTube is officially the world’s largest training platform, with more than 7 in 10 viewers using it to solve a problem in their job, studies or hobbies. In fact, of the top five reasons people turn to YouTube, three of them relate to learning, fixing something or solving a problem. The average YouTube video running is 4 minutes 20 seconds, indicating that people are most comfortable learning on demand and in short bursts. In short, the market has spoken, and microlearning has become the training method of choice, picked not by academics or training gurus, but by learners themselves.

In order to accomplish a particular learning objective, microlearning users complete short, punchy micro-bites of training that last between two and five minutes. Just like YouTube instructional videos, their learning can be accessed quickly and easily at the point of need and is available on any device, allowing them to complete each lesson in a single session and take the opportunity to immediately put that learning into practice.

It means that instead of waiting months for a scheduled training session, referring to hastily scribbled notes or taking time away from performing their tasks, users can learn whenever they want with material accessible within their workflow, while using rich media that fully engages their attention.

Its benefits are not limited to the learners either. For organizations, microlearning programmes are generally faster and cheaper to develop than standard training courses, which also makes them easier to update and refresh as practice evolves. It is equally applicable to formal and informal training, and because the lessons are both short and learner-centric, they result in a higher rate of completion.

Why localized microlearning is important

For global organizations, different languages and cultures, local market variations and changes in supply chains, sales channels and services mean that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all global learning solution.

Localizing your training content ensures the technical consistency of your messages are maintained, while providing tailored narrative and descriptions that resonate with local needs and expectations. In an ideal world, your microlearning content should be written with localization in mind from the beginning. This means avoiding culturally-specific references and idioms, with no unnecessary jargon and a formal agreement on terminology, tone of voice and stylistic conventions.

Because microlearning lessons are short, they are inherently easier to adapt and can be delivered via an e-learning platform capable of adapting to different translation lengths, alphabets and reading formats. Microlearning should be interactive – making the most of graphics, video clips, audio and other multimedia formats – and here localization is just as important as with text. Localization experts should feedback on new content throughout its development, and bear in mind there are often multiple languages and cultures within the same country.  In some cultures, user-led learning is simply not appropriate, as employees expect to be directed through their training by an instructor.

As the nature of global commerce evolves, the companies that derive the most significant competitive advantage are the ones that can optimize their business according to local needs. This is not just about selling to the customer, but integrating the organization and its operations completely within its cultural environment. IBM found that the companies that demonstrated the highest levels of performance were able to easily identify individuals with required skills, could display and deliver information to meet the needs of various target audiences and quickly build skills to address changing conditions. Through microlearning, global organizations have the opportunity to deliver adaptable, personalized and localized training capable of doing exactly that.

To speak to us about our specialist training and e-learning localization services, contact us today.