Recruitment and assessment.

I'm in the process of recruiting for a new trainee elearning developer and have had a few internal applications.

These applicants dont have any developer experience but know the company inside out. I don't see their lack of developer experience as a negative because I can provide training on Storyline and our other publishing tools. The fact they bring company knowledge will off set this and will help them create the content we need for the business.

What I do need to understand is that they have a natural flare for picking up and using software systems (storyline, our lms etc.). I can't afford the training to be any more difficult than it has to be.

Has anyone been in a similar situation and do you have any advice on assessing technical ability to pick up software?  I want to include something into the interview/assessment process.

Thanks, Al.

9 Replies
Kate Niblett

Hi Al

 Basically if they can use powerpoint they can use Storyline. Perhaps set a workplace test with an outline for a short course and get them to develop in P/Point (with animation).

Perhaps get them to document/ respond on their process - how they would get it from an outline to a course in the LMS.

Will they also need an understanding of: instructional design, SME's, graphic design, project management, sound and video editing?

 

Alistair Bruce

Hi Kate,

Thanks for the idea, I had planned to give them a bit of a project but just wanted to sense check myself and see if there were any other ideas out there. 

They would need a basic understanding of all the skills you listed but it is very much a trainee role so they will be supported throughout their journey.  For me, it's more about how they pick up new technologies and software that concerns me.

Thanks Al.

Ray Cole

Software is the least of it, in my experience. Storyline, as Kate points out, has done a great job of emulating the basic PowerPoint layout and interface, so if they know PowerPoint well, they are already 60-70% of the way there. Variables and triggers require a bit more technical savvy, but even those features are pretty accessible thanks to Storyline's drop-down method of constructing triggers.

If your organization is creating information-centric courses, then maybe it will be enough for your trainees to just focus on acquiring Storyline development skills. But if you're trying to create courses that jumpstart learner practice, that build skills in realistic job contexts, and that aim to have most objectives at the "Applying" level or above on Bloom's taxonomy, then you are going to have to be very, very patient with your new recruits. It takes a lifetime to get good at translating the typical SME info-dump into high-context decision-oriented training. It is really hard to do well, even for those of us who've been working at it for years. Learning Storyline is child's play in comparison.

Although it may cost more and require more upfront recruitment effort, you will likely get better results over the long haul by hiring some really skilled instructional designers, even if you have to go outside your organization to find them.

Kate Niblett

I'm with you Ray. I have some very talented staff who can do amazing things technically in Storyline but struggle to view course development from an educational perspective. Acting as the "go between" from SME to learner is very challenging. Turning content into good educational design, while advocating for the learner, requires more than just technical expertise

Kate (Cathryn) Niblett
Training Development Manager
Education, Training & Research
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service
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Cheryl Kent

Hi Alistair,

I've no experience but sometimes I think it is the attitude that matters, not just the technical skills. It might be worth asking...

What elearning they have completed themselves - what would they say was positive, what was negative - a critical attitude

What skills have they developed on their own - are they a self-starter, curious to learn rather than wait to be taught

Maybe an example of how they could improve XXX

Hope this helps and good luck.

 

Karl Muller
Ray Cole

Software is the least of it, in my experience. Storyline, as Kate points out, has done a great job of emulating the basic PowerPoint layout and interface, so if they know PowerPoint well, they are already 60-70% of the way there. Variables and triggers require a bit more technical savvy, but even those features are pretty accessible thanks to Storyline's drop-down method of constructing triggers.

If your organization is creating information-centric courses, then maybe it will be enough for your trainees to just focus on acquiring Storyline development skills. But if you're trying to create courses that jumpstart learner practice, that build skills in realistic job contexts, and that aim to have most objectives at the "Applying" level or above on Bloom's taxonomy, then you are going to have to be very, very patient with your new recruits. It takes a lifetime to get good at translating the typical SME info-dump into high-context decision-oriented training. It is really hard to do well, even for those of us who've been working at it for years. Learning Storyline is child's play in comparison.

Although it may cost more and require more upfront recruitment effort, you will likely get better results over the long haul by hiring some really skilled instructional designers, even if you have to go outside your organization to find them.

I completely agree with everything that Ray said. Find skilled and experienced Instructional Designers with a proven track record of creating effective eLearning. Rise and Articulate are only tools (of which there are many) and anyone can learn to use them. However, very few people can use them well to create effective online courses. Actually building the course using whatever development tools is the smallest part of an eLearning project. 

Ulises Musseb
Walter Coolman

+1 to Ray's comment - 'Software is the least of it ...

 I can't afford the training to be any more difficult than it has to be.

What exactly does that mean? Though we don't want to be wasteful, trying to train a person in the use of software, chances are that the problem will not be learning the software, but lack of knowledge of the use and application of it.

You can easily show what and where to click for a given feature, but if they don't know what the feature is for in the application of a learning experience, there's no analytical skill that will help with that.

Technical skill are essential, and knowing the company, the industry and everything else is important, but at the end of the day, the eLearning Developer will have to know at least the basics on, well, eLearning Development.

There's a misconception that knowing how to work in the company, or fitting well in the company culture will automatically make people know what they are doing, which I find baffling.

Do you, yourself, know anything about instructional design? I know that you are in the UK, but in the USA, the Department of Labor has the "Occupational Outlook Handbook", with a detailed descriptions of what the job of pretty much every title entails, giving people a basic idea of what knowledge and skills are required for a position. I'm sure you should have something similar in your country.