What do I do with E-learning Interns???

Apr 03, 2013

Hey everyone!

I've been tasked with taking on 2-3 interns and I'm not exactly sure what they can do to assist me. I'm the e-learning specialist at my company so I am used to completing the entire e-process from start to finish.  Thinking that they would be helpful in testing and loading into the LMS, but my supervisor would like to utilize them more while they are here.  Any thoughts on how/what to give them? 

Also, any suggestions on "must-haves" for the interns (i.e. Technical ability, design skills, etc)???


9 Replies
Joe Deegan

I think a big factor would be their previous experience.  If they have experience with instructional design or something like graphic design you may be able to divide up the labor and give them aspects of a project.  For example, you could have an intern work on a storyboard that you can take and build a course with or maybe they can do something like design a template if they have graphic design skills. I'd start by finding the interns to see what type of skills they have or looking for interns with certain skills that you need for projects.

Ken Chang

You could have them help you test out courses like how a learner would go through them to check for interface flow, design mistakes, dead links, test questions, etc...

Also, if you have videos to shoot--interns could help out with shooting videos. Also, another idea could be to create more graphic assets that you can use in your courses. For example, if your company has a safety or sales training course, interns could help take photos, create graphics, or shoot b-roll film elements or even help out with the film editing.

Daniel Brigham

I'd use them for comic relief. "So intern, what do you think most of our clients are like?" That sort of thing...

But more seriously: Maybe use them for:

  • spellchecking storyboards
  • brainstorming potential learning activities (hey, intern--what would be a good learning activity for this content?)
  • brainstorming potential graphic design treatments
  • getting coffee
  • looking up cool e-learning website and tools for me


Audrey Kumi

I was an intern not so long ago and fortunately for me, I did real work from needs analysis to the design and development and also to loading courses on the LMS, etc. 

Conducting Needs Analysis, Storyboarding, Copy editing, Administrative tasks, Testing, etc are a few ways you can use their help. Truth be told 2-3 is quite many but that is also dependent on your task load.

Matthew Bray Nimeth

I would assume they are interns from the millennial generation? There are quite a few tips for working with Millennials, but here are a couple.

1) Millenials hate work that is disconnected from the "purpose" of the organization. If you can make sure the tasks they complete have a clear pathway/connection to the overall goals of the organization, they will be more happy completing them no matter how menial.

2) Offer to let them become idea machines. Give them a great book on corporate brainstorming techniques like the recent book by C. McNair WIlson called, "Hatch: confessions of a Disney imagineer" have them read it and spend time each day brainstorming new ideas for projects they could complete, solutions to issues you have, and even story ideas for training modules.

3) Focus on mentoring them more than getting work done. Build a relationship with each of them and make sure you honestly are mentoring them, talk things like office politics, work/life balance and other things like this. Internships are not just supposed to be about cheap labor. We are talking about helping to prepare the next generation of professionals.

4) Read a professional development book along with them and meet once a week to talk about a chapter. I recommend William Horton's eLearning by Design.


Scott Hewitt

Hi Lauren,

If you were an intern what would you want from your experience? 

  • Job skills
  • Working with a client
  • Working on an actual project
  • Being part of a team
  • Getting to learn from professionals
  • Understanding the project process
  • Creating something that you can be proud of
  • Being creative

I've set up several internship programmes for my business with our local university. We always make sure that our all of the interns are part of the team and are involved in working on actual projects. I'd spend time understanding people's skillset then you can give them a task that they can complete - even if it is small to begin with. Anything that they did was linked to our work projects or our work process we didn't just make work up for them to do - this isn't a good use of anyone's time.

The interns that  we had on our programmes have been part of a team that have produced some great work. One illustrator created a set of initial designs that was used on a game based learning project - we submitted his designs to the client and they loved them!

If they don't have much of an industry background then some research time can be very useful as Matthew and Daniel have both noted but I'd always try and link it to an output. Can you write ask the intern to write a blog article, notes to share with the team or a report that you can send to a client? Our programme was nominated for a regional business award linking education and business - the interns, our staff and university staff put a lot of time in but it was worth it.  Good luck!

Hope this helps,


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