What do elearning designers really do?

E-Learning Challenge #30

Have you ever tried explaining what you do to your friends or parents? Anyone? Chances are you were met with a blank or quizzical look.

While most jobs can be tough to explain to people outside your industry, e-learning design has to be one of the most challenging jobs to explain. The industry is relatively new and requires designers to juggle a variety of skills from writing to design to project management to counselling.

For anyone who’s struggled to explain their occupation, the “What People Think I Do / What I Really Do” is the visual elevator pitch you've been looking for. 

Using a series of panels, you tell a visual story about the preconceptions outsiders have about our industry. You’ve likely seen one or more versions of this visual communication meme. Here’s one of my favorites:

There isn’t a strict format you have to follow, the panels typically include panels for:

  • What my friends think I do
  • What my mom thinks I do
  • What society thinks I do
  • What my boss thinks I do
  • What I think I do
  • What I actually do

In some ways, this meme is similar to the photo collage challenge you did a couple weeks back. The biggest difference is the meme is focused around explaining what your occupation while the photo collage was more open-ended.

Now, it’s possible what people think you do and what you really do are exactly the same:

Challenge of the week

This week, your challenge is to design a visual chart using the “What People Think I Do / What I really Do” meme.  You can choose any job role you like: instructional designer, course designer, Super Hero, or any other title that interests you.

Projects can be static images, or you can try something more interactive like video or animation. Whatever you decide to do, just have fun with it! I’ll start a Pinterest board like I did for your instructional design tips to showcase your examples.


Here’s a free PowerPoint template to help you get started:

Blogs and articles

Last week’s challenge 

Before you start telling everyone what you really do, check out what your community members did in last week’s summary slide challenge:

Wishing you a great week—doing whatever it is you do—E-Learning Heroes!

More about the e-learning challenges:

The weekly challenges are ongoing opportunities to learn, share, and build your e-learning portfolios. You can jump into any or all of the previous challenges anytime you want. We’ll feature your work and provide feedback if you request it.

Even if you’re using a trial version of Studio ’13 or Storyline, you can absolutely publish your challenge files. Just sign up for a fully functional, free trial, and have at it. And remember to post your questions and comments in the forums; we're here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.

Paul Alders