Topic Locales is an important enhancement that also fits into our larger effort to emphasize Topics as the best way to structure content for your learners, while allowing administrators to avoid using group restrictions to support different languages in the LMS. This communication gives a great holistic overview of this functionality!
If you only plan on using one locale (language) in your account, then topic locales won't impact you very much. However, for those of you who plan on using more than one locale, topic locales will allow learners to more easily filter content in topics by locale, allow you to customize the order of activities and topics, and create a better Catalog Home page experience based on localized topics instead of ad hoc activities. Let's take a look at each of these features.
New "Locale" Property on Topics
We've added the "Locale" field to the Topic Properties page (and changed the "Language" field on the Activity Properties page to "Locale" to match), and improved the look of the page:
Every Topic must have a Locale defined for it - it will default to the locale of the admin, but if you didn't have one before it will default to English. When creating a new Topic, on the Properties tab, you will be asked to set the Available in Browse field, Name, which is required, Code and Description. Also, all Topics will have a Topic Section, or Parent topic, and all activities will be mapped to child Topics. Therefore, Topic Sections will act as containers, since no activities can be mapped to them, nor can they be followed. This new hierarchy will require that the new Locale field cannot be changed or removed once defined for a Topic.
In a nutshell: Activities --> Topics --> Topic Section, and all their locales must match.
Topic and Activity Ordering
The Topic List page has been enhanced as well. At the very top right of the page is a locale selector which will let you pick from any of the available locales being used in the system. Only those Topics matching the selected locale will display on the page. Underneath the locale selector is a Topic filter:
- All Topics - all Topics will display
- Available in Browse - these Topics will be viewable and followable by the Student if the "Available in browse" field is selected on the Topic Properties Page
- Hidden - these Topics will only be visible as a Catalog row (Topic row or Smart row) and in Notifications (e.g., new content in the Topic if you followed it)
Next to each Topic name you'll see the number of activities included in that topic, and the column on the far right side of the page displays each Topic type. Topic Sections and Topics can be ordered by clicking the Reorder link:
In Reorder mode, you can grab any of the double-line icons to move the Topics Sections or Topics for that locale into any order you'd like:
Click the Done button at the top of the page when finished. The Student will see the new order reflected in the system where Topic Sections and Topics display (Browse page, Topic pages, Onboarding, etc.).
Back on the Topic List page, clicking the Add New Section and Add New Topic links lets you add new Topic Sections and Topics quickly and easily. To map activities to Topics, from any Topic page click on the Activities tab, then the Add Activity button:
Note: an activity's locale must match its topic; if the activity has no locale defined it can be mapped to any topic.
Just as with Topics when editing the Topic List page, Activities may be ordered here by dragging and dropping them via the double-line icons.
Catalog Home Page Impact
We've eliminated the need to create custom sections (rows) of ad hoc activities! Now you can add a Topic row, which is configurable by locale. So, for example, if you wanted to create a custom "Activities you may be interested in" row, create a Topic with that name, for your particular locale, and tag any activities you want to display in that row with that Topic (and make sure those activities are part of that locale, as well)! Then simply select that Topic when editing the catalog row:
The default rows (Continue Learning, My Requirements, My Recommendations, etc.) are now treated like any other row, and can be added by locale.
You may be reading this and thinking that Topic Locales may be a feature you're ready to take advantage of but you're not quite sure how yet. Here's a few use cases that demonstrate how an organization might utilize this functionality:
A) Company XYZ is using a couple of similar locales (e.g., English and British English). They want to make their content available to their students in the most logical way, so they have two options:
- They could support just one locale - 'en' or 'en-gb' - and put all of their activities into that one locale. Their students would not be able to change locales so they'd be able to see all of the content.
- They could support both locales and have duplicate topics (one set for English and another set for British English). They could then either have duplicate activities or leave their activity locales undefined and add them to both topics.
B) Acme Inc. has a large, global, external audience needing many locales. They could set a topic to a specific language (e.g., 'fr'). Then, mostly 'fr'-only activities would be added to that topic, but occasionally an activity that is available across all languages (which would have no locale) would also be added. This tactic can be repeated as needed for as many topics as required.