E-Learning Designers: What's your 5-year plan?

Nov 17, 2014

I think we'd all agree that elearning is the best place to work.

Whether you're just starting out in the field or you've been around a few years, there's always something new or exciting happening in online training.

So I'm curious where do you see yourself in five years' time?

Elearning Designers: What

"Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas." -- Paula Poundstone



5 Replies
Ashley Chiasson

Oh gosh! I'm happy to say that I've achieved my goal for the 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' question, which I recognize is a tough hurdle for a lot of folks. I love Instructional Design, and I'm passionate about what I do.

As for a 5 year plan, I see myself growing within my current roles (as both an Instructional Developer at a post-secondary institution and as a consultant and small business owner). I don't really see any major shifts in the next five years; however, it would be nice to grow my business a bit more. 

Within my onsite role:

  • Increase the amount of online course offerings
  • Standardize course development across courses (a larger feat than one would expect - yay collective agreements!)
  • Organize 1-2 workshops per year
  • Attend 1 conference per year

Within my business:

  • Pursue additional projects
  • Begin subcontracting (to others)
  • Present at 3-5 conferences and/or workshops per year (Learning Solutions 2015 coming up...eeee!)
  • Finish writing my (two) books (!)


  • Take 1-2 vacations per year (we all need our downtime)
  • Train my beagle not to bark at all of the things (this may take longer than 5 years)
  • Relax more
  • Start and finish a non-work-related book
Jeff Kortenbosch

That's a well prepared list Ashley. I've never been much of a career planner. I guess I see opportunities when they came knocking and act upon them. Honestly a little less than before now I am a parent and feel the need for job security. But who knows... All it takes is an offer one can't resist :)

Last time I tried to do career planning I really noticed I love doing what I do. I just want to get better and better and better. E-learning is moving at warp speed and that means you never do the same thing for a long time. You are always expanding your skill-set with new tool, ways of working and I still learn something from every project I do (whether I like it or not).

...in 5 years? I might be running the European division of Articulate, or have a successful e-learning company, or still happy at my current employer... Let's talk again in 5 years.

Holly MacDonald

If I'm really honest, I'd say I was more focused on the 5 years after that when I'll be an empty-nester and looking to travel more ;-)

The next five years are going to be about sustainable growth for me, seeking out partnerships that will help me grow my business but not work so much! Finding subcontractors that "fit" and maybe taking on a business partner. I believe I'll continue to be an Articulate "shop" but beyond that, who knows. I'll adapt as e-learning adapts.  

Andrew Dunn

Splitting my time between working at a newly-founded University of the Arctic in Iqaluit as Lead Imagineer and e-Strategist, and 6 months working on my own pet projects, including becoming more familiar with the craft beers of Vancouver.

More realistically, we at BC Children's/BC Women's are trying to develop a longer-term plan for eLearning in healthcare, integrating it with daily practice, so that over time the 'e' will go away, and we'll be left with the essence - learning. eLearning will cease to be a discrete 'thing', and my job will be to advise teams on how best to use existing and emerging technologies to promote learning. I'd love to be in a position in 5 years time where we don't make 'modules', but instead ask questions that prompt our teams to build their own answers and communities of expertise. And I am hoping that the LMS as we know it will finally disappear, as Tin Can allows us to capture learning events across multiple sources.

One thing that won't change, as far as I can see, is that we will be technology-driven - i.e. we will need to respond to the capabilities of new technologies. Technology doesn't evolve to suit the needs of e-learning developers, typically, and our jobs will be to keep ahead of the curve, and to figure out ways of using the new tools for learning. That will mean more mobile, more JIT, more customised/personalised learning...

Melissa Milloway

I have way too many things that I want to do in/by 5 years!

  1. I would love to be living in another country in 5 years (even Canada!) Maybe Jeff will recruit me to the Netherlands, LOL!
  2. I would love to be pursuing a Ph.D (but sadly my student loans from undergrad/grad school will never be paid off).
  3. I would love to be regularly talking at conferences (which I have started to do).
  4. Start a small elearning biz on the side. (Hey, some people have kids and I have elearning! I like it that way.)
  5. Code a lot better than I am coding today.
  6. Continuing to experiment with using learning technologies in new and different ways.




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