Designing for Different Learning Styles before Localizing Learning Content


Everyone likes to learn in different ways, and most certainly learning in your native language significantly improves absorbing and applying new things.  However, how important is it to consider learning styles at the design stage before localizing the content?

Throughout your education, you may have discovered your unique learning style and how to best approach a learning task.  When we talk about learning styles what do we mean?  A Learning style is an individual’s natural or habitual pattern of acquiring and processing information in learning situations. One type of model – referred to as VARK – categorizes learning styles as: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing and Kinesthetic.

Learning preferences and Learning Intelligences are also important at influencing learning, however these topics are reserved for another blog!

So, why are learning styles important to consider when designing learning materials before localization takes place?

Foremost, localization is not simply a translation – although these terms are similar in nature, there is a significant difference in the details, especially when graphic or images and non-text content is involved. Making sure that materials resonate with learners is not just about ensuring they are in the “right” language – there are many other elements at play when it comes to making learning relevant. Hence, coupled with the fact that Visual and Read/Write learning styles score highly when testing learners, adopting a range of approaches will reach learners better.

Learning Styles analysis Source: Presentation 2008, Dept of Stats, UCI. (J. Utts)


Here are some tips and ideas to consider in your next learning content design to accommodate the rich diversity in our global learning population. Making learning as accessible.

V – Visual Learners may use a mixture of photographic memory, spatial awareness, color/tone/brightness contrasts, and other visual information to learn.

Tips for design

  • Create a visual journey. For example, when teaching a process, include visuals of all the items or information needed from that location.
  • Use videos and infographics – are subtitles appropriate or voiceover?
  • Choice of color – some cultures are known to prefer bright colors and high contrast

A – Auditory learners love listening to information, hearing sound, rhythm, and music. They may use rhymes, mnemonics, or lyrics to recall learning.

Tips for design

  • Voice assistants to help direct and guide learners
  • Play and repeat – it may be appropriate to embed voice translation tools to listen to during assessments
  • Identify mnemonics that work at that location or are culturally neutral

 R – Read/Write learners like to do research online and read to absorb information.

Tips for design

  • Use flash cards – short and relatively simple to localize
  • Encourage forums to share ideas and responses

K – Kinesthetic learners like to engage in activities by experiencing and doing things. They use their body and sense of touch to approach learning.

Tips for design

  • Group activities which are sensitive to culture differences. For example, computer-game style assessments or entertaining animation may not be appropriate
  • Writing and drawing
  • Digital simulations with voiceover
  • Discussion groups

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