I was presented with an interesting task recently: I was asked to recommend a learning management system (LMS) that can support 6 different languages (English, French, French-Canadian, Italian, German, and Spanish). This is new territory to me; I have only worked with LMSs and eLearning courses in English. So I embarked on many hours of research (thank you, eLearning Guild) and web surfing to learn about multi-lingual LMSs. I read data sheets and sales-speak until my eyes glazed over. (Side note: Why do most LMS web sites use so many buzzwords? Do we really to target seamless functionality while harnessing talent and performance management in order to align our metrics with a user-centered approach? Sheesh.)
I found a few LMSs that offer multiple languages, but it was a trickier search than I would’ve expected. LMS vendors tend to bury this information, which surprised me. So here are some of the LMSs I found in my search: IntraLearn LMS, Cornerstone OnDemand, Meridian Global LMS, and
SumTotal. These LMSs made my short-list for two reasons: First, they supported the required languages, and second, they all rated well in The eLearning Guild’s 2008 360-Degree Report on Learning Management Systems.
So, here’s where I’m a newbie: When purchasing off-the-shelf content, do vendors typically provide you with separate SCORM/AICC files for each language? How do you manage multi-lingual LMSs and multi-lingual content?
I’d love to hear from eLearning developers/integrators, as well as any vendors that may be listening. I doubt I’m the first person to tackle multi-lingual eLearning. And just maybe this info will be helpful to others who are tasked with researching, selecting, and implementing multi-lingual eLearning.
B.J. is the Founding Editor of eLearning Weekly and has contributed more than 150 articles. He works in elearning at Qualcomm, focusing on mobile learning.