Towards localizing eLearning websites

The majority of (eLearning) websites are produced in English. Websites, in general, are increasingly being marketed globally. The evaluation of international or intercultural usability issues will offer valuable information for future efforts to develop websites for the international market. But what will happen in non- English speaking countries (Belgium, German, Egypt, Spain, etc)? Some of these countries proudly insist on their own cultural identity and simplified English. It is obvious that then content and interface localization for (learning) web systems is becoming more necessary. Localization of e-learning content is not only about translation or adaptation of graphical elements, it is deeper. It is the process of adapting the learning material to a form that is linguistically, functionally and culturally acceptable in order to meet the language and cultural needs of the target audience(s).
The proposed research is about evaluating the influence of the users’ cultural background on content and interface understanding in the context of e-learning, and to develop a design methodology for learning environments that take into account social, religion and cultural factors.
The target websites are the distance learning websites, because distance education in particular is a good candidate for localization. As the students’ background and expectations about education and universities may differ from country to country, as well as the study methods.
Publication Reference
Mushtaha, A. , De Troyer, O.: "Towards localizing eLearning websites", The first Multilingualism & applied comparative linguistics conference, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2006)