The job of an eLearning designer is definitely one of the most dynamic ones. It requires a whole set of skills - curriculum design, graphic design, problem-solving, etc.
Whether you are a young graduate looking to step into the industry or a seasoned professional wanting to switch careers, this article has your back. Let's look at what eLearning designers do and how to become one.
What does an eLearning designer do?
Essentially, they are EdTech professionals responsible for developing virtual learning programs for learners. They design the curriculum for the courses, consult with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) & Instructional Designers to frame the course, and manage the course production to operation. This is only a brief overview of what these professionals do. If one is to go into greater detail, they will find that the job in fact does not have a standard description. Here are just some of the roles that an eLearning designer has to serve:
- Script writing, copywriting, lecture development
- Curriculum design
- Video editor and graphic designer
- Quiz and assessment framing
- Researching learning content and compiling the accurate information
- Developing resource guides and learning activities
- Developing course timeline
- Course-creation consultant.
Indeed, the job description is a versatile one. Moreover, experts must also exhibit empathy, listening, and good communication skills because being an EdTech expert, one needs to be sensitive towards learners. Lastly, do not forget adaptability. This is a crucial skill since these designers have to put up with changing educational trends, learner needs, and technological breakthroughs.
As far as the job environment is concerned, eLearning designers work both out of offices or work remotely. The job is a flexible one, allowing the professionals to easily adjust it according to their needs. Moreover, one can work for corporations, educational institutes, or even freelance.
How much does an eLearning designer make?
Income is always a subject of interest for professionals. Undoubtedly, it heavily influences one's decision of pursuing any profession. So, how much does an eLearning designer make in a year? Reports show that the average pay scale for the profession in the US is approximately $60,000 per year and $29.65 an hour.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the expected number of jobs will by 11% within this decade, which is a huge increase in comparison to other professions.
How to become an eLearning designer?
Making it as an eLearning professional, one has to follow quite a journey. Unfortunately, there are no easy shortcuts to this. Anyways, all good things take time. To help you navigate the field, I have broken down the process into handy little steps which make it easier to follow along. Let's have a look.
Get required education
Given the technicalities surrounding the job of an eLearning designer, one is advised to have some form of formal educational background. However, it is not a strict requirement for the job. Although, it is highly appreciated. Luckily, you can easily meet this requirement by getting certifications through online courses. Furthermore, if you wish to get higher education diplomas, here are a couple good schools to look into; Carnegie Mellon University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Dunwoody College of Technology.
Moreover, one also needs to have ample know-how in educational psychology. Since it forms the foundational basis of course design, teaching methods, and assessment techniques. Additionally, these professionals must possess an adequate understanding of softwares for developing and running these courses online.
These can be a lot of skills to learn on one's own, so it is better that you take expert guidance. Fortunately, some several online short courses and certifications can help you with it.
Gather your skills
Getting formal education and diplomas will not provide you with all the skills that you require to survive as an eLearning designer. Since it is not a standalone role, aspirants also need to be aware of instructional design basics such as instructional design theories, awareness of andragogy & pedagogy, ADDIE, SAM models, etc. Along with it, one should also know how to conduct task analysis and action mapping to devise training solutions.
And finally, professionals should also have an understanding of eLearning project management. It is a specific branch of its own that teaches key skills such as meeting the stakeholders, scoping and determining the resources for executing the projects, and making project plans.
Build you portfolio
Once you have your diplomas in hand and have gone through extensive training for gaining the necessary skills, it is time to move on to putting them all into good use. A portfolio is an evidential CV of sorts. It covers all your projects and experience with which you can sell yourself as a brand. Therefore, it is a crucial aspect of becoming an eLearning designer.
Usually, in school, you get ample opportunities to carry out projects for learning purposes. These can be used to form your portfolio but in case you do not come from a relevant educational background, it is not a problem, you can add freelancing gigs, and preparatory projects from online courses. They also suffice. In the end, it is all about how well you can pitch your skills and creative abilities.
Set up your website
Being an EdTech professional is more than just acquiring professional skills. After you are done grooming your skill set and resume, it is time to put a face to it all. For that, you will have to set up your domain and website where clients can reach out to you and you can host all your content. You do not have to be a web developer for this. Simply chose the most compatible LMS according to your needs and set up your course easily.
With Teachfloor, one can host an entire course academy with multiple eLearning designers and course developers working together. The platform makes it easier to scale eLearning businesses and one does not even have to be a tech expert to operate the platform.
Build your presence
After you are finished setting up your websites and your resumes, it is time to share them - to market yourselves to potential employers and clients. Marketing can a challenging aspect of becoming an eLearning designer. How to start, what marketing practices to implement, and where to market? All these questions can overwhelm anyone.
For young professionals and even experienced eLearning designers, there is a great online community to seek help from. eLearning designers.org is an online space for eLearning designers to interact with each other. People can network, seek solutions to their queries, and also market themselves. Such spaces are a blessing for young professionals finding their footing in new territories.
Besides this, there are quite a few ways through which you can market yourself. You can build an email list, host a podcast or perhaps appear as a guest on one, do pay-per-click ads, do social media marketing (paid), and affiliate marketing. These are only a few ways in which you can spread the word.
eLearning Industry is rapidly growing with an estimated projection of the market size at $37,160 million by 2026. With a growing market comes the growing need for eLearning experts and designers to meet the requirements. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are aspiring for this profession. But becoming an eLearning designer can be confusing without the right guidance. This article was an attempt at giving some direction to aspiring designers. If you have any advice for these young professionals, feel free to share it with us in the comments.