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  • 06 July 2022
  • 4 min read

eLearning language: why learning in your native tongue is more effective

Online eLearning courses are most effective when we can increase the chances of employee engagement and information retention. One crucial factor you should consider when...

Online eLearning courses are most effective when we can increase the chances of employee engagement and information retention. One crucial factor you should consider when formulating a learning and development campaign is the languages your course will be delivered in. Whilst English is spoken as a global language, research shows that learning in your native tongue helps learners understand the teaching better.  

There are more than 7000 languages spoken across the globe. For businesses with international and global aspirations, translating your learning and development content is the best way to supercharge your workforce, whilst also building trust amongst a diverse community and maximising engagement. 

An introduction to eLearning language localisation 

Did you know that for 71% of internet users, English is not their native language? To take a blanket approach to eLearning and deliver all your courses to all your employees in one language may lead to a smooth delivery, but you are dampening your chances of employee development. When you localise your eLearning – deliver teaching through the native language of the learner – you consider different language idioms and culture.  

What would the point be in creating comprehensive and informative courses if your target audience simply does not retain the information? Your eLearning must be comprehensible for your employees and must touch each of them equally. When we localise the learning, you give every employee the same opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge; everyone starts on the same footing.  

The benefits of language localisation 

  • Increase Productivity: This joint Forbes and Rosetta Stone report reveals that 80% of employees are more productive when their managers deliver information in their native language. Further EdTech data reveals that when we localise eLearning languages for our employees, we boost productivity by a reported 50% as learning is ingested and retained quicker, without the obstacle of figuring out what that word means. EdTech also reveals that companies who deliver eLearning in different languages, save between 50 to 70% overall. They hypothesise that teaching employees in their native language means that information is retained and does not need to be refreshed constantly.  
  • Greater Retention: We think in our native language. If we are being delivered language in a foreign language, your brain must first translate that information, then understand it and then store it. In fact, research from the University of Chicago reveals that using a foreign language “reduces vividness of mental imagery.” They posit that the brain becomes drained when it has to create mental imagery for a foreign language. Why add these extra steps into your employee’s development journey when learning in the native tongue enables users greater ease in storing information? 
  • Decrease chances of job-related accidents: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that language barriers contribute to 25% of job-related accidents. When we offer training in a learner’s native tongue, safety-related accidents are reduced, and absences drop because of less accidents.  
  • Improves Scenario-Based Training: When you are teaching using scenarios and examples to give employees anecdotal development, native language delivery is the best way to get a clear message across. Often scenario-based training leads to teaching a practical step-by-step way to deal with similar situations. If this is delivered in the employee’s language, they understand it quicker and can recall it easier.  
  • More Efficient: As individuals, we subconsciously develop a special connection with our native language from an early age. As a result, speaking and listening in your native language comes naturally. Even when an individual learns a foreign language, to a fluent level, they will always find it easier to understand and connect to content when it is delivered in their native language. When learning is presented in the native tongue, knowledge is absorbed with ease, and you take away added pressure for employees who are still catching up to the business language.  
  • Employee preference: 90% of people want to learn in their native language! For employees, learning in their native language does away with filters and misinterpretation that may come from learning in a business language. There is also a tonne of online data to show that people simply prefer their native language in every regard. For example, a Common Sense Advisory survey, conducted in 8 countries, found that 71% of consumers spend their time on websites in their own language and 72% purchase products with information in their language. They even reveal that 56% of consumers value service in their native language over a decent price and service. We live in a global and multicultural world and our workplaces reflect that fact – your eLearning courses also need to be the same! 
  • Inclusivity: When you deliver all your training in English, you automatically send a message to your non-English speakers. Instantly, they feel less important as their needs are not being catered to. As a result, they may become demotivated or even feel ensure about raising questions regarding the learning and training. This can then lead to serious issues and mistakes in the workplace.  

In conclusion 

Whilst English may be considered the global language, or another language reigns supreme in your domestic territory, to truly unleash employee development, you need to deliver eLearning in their native language. When we do this, we increase productivity, we increase retention, we allow for natural intuition to take charge and we increase comfort in learning. It is an investment in the development of your employees and has proven to be a greater Return on Investment than delivering in one language only. 

Diverse language delivery is a necessity for all businesses and their learning and development campaigns. If you want eLearning courses and products delivered in a variety of languages for your diverse employee base, TSC (The Security Company) provides courses in over 15 languages! Speak to us about your target audience and we can deliver targeted courses in the languages you require.  

If you would like more information about how The Security Company can help deliver security awareness training and development in a variety of languages, please contact Jenny Mandley.

Written by
Nas Ali
Cyber security and awareness content creator focused on emerging threats and the next wave of cyber security risks like AI, deepfakes and tech 4.0 initiatives in order to build towards a more secure organisational culture.
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