why are you good at eLearning?

Dec 30, 2011

Hey guys - I have recently joined the community and have been reading the responses on another thread regarding where we all work and what industry we work in. There were so many different replies, I expected there to be more freelancers/consultants.... but and it was really great to hear from so many people who are lone souls in their respective businesses.... with the heavy burden of responsibility for being the experts at eLearning!! 

I mentioned the following within that post, but thought it might be interesting to create my own thread on the subject.. so here goes:

I see becoming a "successful rapid eLearning author" as requiring skills in 4 main areas:

1) training (understanding the theory of learning) 

2) technology/software (being able to use tools such as Articulate and Captivate etc.)

3) design (designing pretty slides and graphics)

4) SME (knowing about the subjects you are teaching)

  • First of all, do you agree with that breakdown?
  • and secondly, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being poor and 10 being excellent), how would you rate yourself in each of these 4 areas?

I'll start!! For me - obviously modest  

1) training - 7

2) technology/software - 5

3) design - 6

4) SME - 3 (need to improve but not much motivation!)

Would be great to hear your views on this!

9 Replies
david stokes

I think thats a good overall set of skills, I'd add "being able to think outside the box" as a useful skill    I've worked on diverse elearning projects such as Asset Integrity Mgmt for the Oil Industry through to Woundcare for the Health Service,  and these have all required a flexible approach to content development. Being able to interpret client needs and produce effective elearning to match them is always an enjoyable challenge.

A modest skill breakdown from me...

1 . Training - 7

2. Software - 7

3 Instructional design - 7

4. SME - 4 (this one is difficult due to the variety of projects I work on)

I'm sure there are other areas of expertise that members of the community will add?

Judy Hext

Thanks Anthony and David. I really like the list of 5 criteria. With the start of the new year, it gives me something to think about! It's a chance to take stock of current eLearning skills and areas to work on in 2012.

Out of the box thinking is a good addition. Creativity in eLearning design is about creating good-looking screens, but also how to present an idea in a creative way. Even the skill of converting a whole lot of text into a concise case study takes a lot of creativity. So I think eLearning Designers/Developers have to be creative thinkers.

For the 4th criteria (SME) I would include Resourcefulness/Research Skills. This is because we are often required to design courses in areas we don't know much about at first. Just as a journalist goes into a new story by sourcing information and speaking to experts, an eLearning Designer has to do research and get the right information from the right people. I like this part of the job because it is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It can be hard at first, but when everything falls into place, it's a real buzz.

My breakdown

1. Theory of training 8

2. Technical/software 7

3. Instructional design 7

4. Subject-matter expert/Resourcefulness 7

5. 'Out-of-the-box' thinking 6

Happy New Year!

Stephanie Dyke

Anthony - thanks for posting this, it's a thought-provoking topic. I'm working on my Masters in Instructional Systems Design and, in academia, I feel like the prevailing thought is that #'s 1 and 3 are really all that matter. But in reality, there are so many of us in the corporate world who have become jack-of-all-trades/lone wolves. We are FT employees but certainly operate as consultants because either we don't have resources, or our resources (IT, creatives, etc.) are not dedicated solely to training and development.

My breakdown:

1. Theory of training: 7

2. Technical/software: 5

3. Instructional design: 7

4. Subject-matter expert/resourcefulness: 3 (at my last assignment I WAS the SME and sole ID so I would have given myself a 10 but alas I have changed jobs and sort of feel like the clueless new kid right now)

5. 'Out-of-the-box' thinking: 5

Stephanie Dyke

Heidi Winkel said:

I would add a 6th criteria - project/program management. 

I think specifically in the 1 or 2 person elearning environments many of us are responsible for not only producing the courses, but also managing others involved. 

Heidi - I second that addition! Ironically, I just became a PM today to manage an elearning development project we are outsourcing. It's easy to get overwhelmed but I always remind myself that variety is the spice of life... and a boon to the resume.

Pam Jones

Interesting discussion and agree with the criteria of list -

I'm freelance so for me every project is different - in some cases, I might do the build and technical bit and in other projects there may be other teams that handle this. Whatever the case, I always build a course myself in the software being used for the project so I understand its capabilities and ..limitations. This helps the storyboard stage and informing the technical team how you want the page to work.

For project management - my experience has been more about managing the SMEs - who are often external and commissioned to work on the project. I therefore don't need specific knowledge about the subject - but need to be able to ask the right questions when working with the SME. For this reason - the SME criteria for me is about managing them and working consultatively with them to decide what's required for the course.

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