What skill set(s) would your dream elearning team have?

Dec 14, 2011

If you could build a dream learning development team to deliver best-in-class elearning, what skills your team absolutely need to have?

19 Replies
Mike Taylor

Besides the obvious choices of Tom, David & Jeannette I'd have James Earl Jones to narrate, Ken Burns to direct & produce, Annie Leibovitz to shoot all the photos, Tom Hanks to perform, WIll Thalheimer to handle the assessments, Ruth Clark, Connie Malamed, and Cathy Moore to just do all the brilliant things they do and at least one minion to make sure I am always fully stocked with coffee and treats. 8-) 

Steve Flowers

We had James Earl Jones narrate one of our videos a few years ago Neat experience. 

My dream team would really depend on the type of project. One of the things I often see taken for granted is artists. A good artist can bring a style and quality to a course that really pushes a good design over the top into wow territory. This also allows interaction designers, instructional design folks, and technical folks to focus on what they do best without spinning wheels for mediocre art outputs. For some projects I wish I had a team of comic book artists (pencil, ink, color). For others, I'd need more technical illustration types. For others a team of video game artists would be great. It depends:) 

I think the dream team would tend to price many of our outputs out of market, but that could be a good thing:)

Eric Nalian

I agree with you Steve, having artist/creative types on the team would be great!  Currently, I am a design team of 1 (ME!), and my dream team would be:

  • Voice over actor - male and female (they have to be able to talk in several different accents)
  • Graphic designer/artist
  • Instructional Designer
  • An SME who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the project done
Kevin Thorn

Narrators: Sam Elliot (male), Meryl Streep (female)

Design Thinking: Dave Gray

Instructional Consultant: Ruth Clark

Visual Consultant: Connie Malamed

Graphic Artist/Illustrator: Me! (gotta be on the team somewhere)

Assorted Technical and Journalism writers.

Marketing: The folks at Apple

Sound/Video: Disney MGM Studios

Instructional Desingers: Tom, David, Jeannette, and all of you of course!

Technology: A completely new system every year or so and the Geek Squad.

Software: Articulate Studio '09, Storyline, and anything else Arlyn, Dave M., Brian, and crew can dream up. Sky's the limit - they'd get to work with the Geek Squad!

And we'd all gather a few times a year in an open-air studio for design-stomring in Carmel, CA

Kevin Thorn

Eric Nalian said:

How many people out there are a team of 1, and how do you keep track of everything? i.e. What do you use for Project Management?

-Sometimes it feels daunting... My project list only has 30+ courses to develop...

I've used a variety of "PM" tools. I always come back to Excel for task lists, and I used Google Calendar for planning. Doesn't need to be anymore complicated than that.I think it has more to do with planning time than 'project' planning. The projects are there. There are tasks that need to be completed. When those add up it can be daunting and intimidating, but if you approach projects in smaller chunks of work you can manage 2-3 at the same time by planning blocks of time for tasks.I think it boils down to personal development in PM skills. And just like any skill, it needs to be practiced, improved upon, evolved, and flexible.
Laura Payette

My biggest challenge right now isn't really managing the courses I'm developing -- after all, I can only work on so much at once as one person. The challenge is effectively managing the relationship with others involved in the process. For example, SMEs don't often understand how training gets built or why you even need certain processes in place. You can have the process and project management plan perfectly in place, but you have to be able to communicate its importance to others you may be working with. Despite years of working on all kinds of projects, you'd think I'd have that down pat, but no...I still run into issues. After all, every interpersonal relationship and work environment has its own dynamic and politics.

Kevin Thorn

You're exactly right Laura and that's why it's a perishable skill.

Often times when I feel pushed against the wall with communicating with a SME, I'll subtly end the conversation and reschedule. This gives me time to regroup and go find research, articles, or talk with others who have similar experiences for guidance. I've learned not to rely on my own wits, rather arm myself with the knowledge of others.

Kevin Dowd

I am a team of one, but I work with another team of one - if that makes sense.

Eric - what I find to be a God send is a tracking spreadsheet that ONLY has the title of the course, the smes, the most recent thing that happened, what the next step is, and when you need to take the next action by (if the ball isn't in your court, then obviously it's just "follow-up wtih...").  I find this much better than setting calendar reminders or what not.  If you have a reminder, and you can't get to it at that time, it just becomes annoying and you run the risk of forgetting later.  With this spreadsheet all you need to do is open it at some point in the day, and glance through the dates to see what upcoming action items you have.

Yes, this does require a little bit of tracking multiple things in multiple places since this does not house all of your information, but I feel like that little bit of extra time saves much more time, frustration, and stress in the long run.  Like you said, it can all be very daunting, this breaks everything up for you in a nice managable chunk.  I know you can do much more exciting things with fancy software, but my excel, sharepoint, and I are very happy together.

Eric Nalian


One tool that I started to keep by my side at all times is my iPad...A few weeks ago, I started using this project management app called 'Smart Pad'.

It lets me list out all of my projects, tasks, and time for each one.  It has made things easier.

The one thing that I can not track in here (at least in a at-a-glace view) is the SME that I am working with.

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