What Opportunities are Available?
In the context of writing this article, I am focusing on the Irish & UK employment market.
Training is now recognised as not only needed in all industries but in some countries, it is mandatory to provide quality training to your employees. It is also vital that you provide training that can be accessed by all employees, including employees that may have accessibility impairments such as vision, hearing or motor skills.
In Ireland and the UK, we have a shortage of Instructional Designers, Developers and Trainers to meet demand. This is good news if you want to follow a carer path in this industry. So what’s involved in starting a career in this sector? First, you need to identify what role you wish to take, designer, developer or trainer? Remember that you can add to your skill set along the way. Next is to decide how you will start your learning path.
Getting your Tuition paid for by the Government
Great news for student s in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK is that the government now subsides college fees for both the unemployed (mature students full tuition paid) and for people currently working in any sector (90% of the college fees are paid). SO there has never been a better time to start in the learning and training sector or to start to upskill and eventually move to this sector.
Also if you’re a stay at home mom or dad, that has been out of the workforce for a number of years you can return to college for free, regardless of your partner’s income levels.
Your local college or employment centre will have all of the details for the courses and services available.
Who does what?
Many designers don’t develop eLearning and the opposite is also true for developers. That said you may be required to design, develop and roll out the training for smaller companies and you may be the only person on board. But over time it is best to have a firm knowledge of all the areas of eLearning as either way you will have to deal with stakeholders within the company or organisation.
What skills are useful when entering the eLearning industry:
There are many skills that are useful, but I feel these are the most important ones:
- Being a creative person (a must have)
- A passion for helping others to learn (a must have)
- Knowledge of how students, employees and adults learn
- Knowledge of following theories and models:
- Situated Cognition Theory
- Sociocultural Learning Theory
- The ADDIE Model
- Merrill’s Principles Of Instruction
- Individualized Instruction
- Bloom’s Taxonomy Of Learning Objectives
- The SAM Model
- Knowledge of eLearning authoring tools such as Captivate
- Knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and other Adobe products
- Knowledge of a Learner Management System (LMS)
It’s worth noting that all the relevant skills can be acquired through study apart from the passion to help others, you are either born with this or you’re not.
When you enter this sector you do not need to have experience of any particular employment sector such as catering, customer service, etc, you will get all the information of how the company or organisation operates and what their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) are and how these are enforced or used with the various departments. You will most likely have access to Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) within the company.
If you are starting off in this career, you might find it best to undertake a short course at night school or do a course on Udemy or Lynda.com or LinkedIn. Linked in is great for getting started with some very excellent courses from Dr. Pooja Jaisingh , where she will take you through all the basics and advanced modes of Captivate.
A word of caution to anyone that intends on becoming a self-employed designer/developer, please keep in mind that it can be a very solitary role where you work for long periods on your own and without the company of others. This is fine for many, but you may find that it can get a little depressing, I worked from home for five years and then moved into an enterprise incubator service where I have my own space, but also have the pleasure of being around other creators every day.
This is just an introduction to the opportunities that are available, if you would like me to create a more in-depth article then please let me know.
I hope you enjoy this short post and that it helps you in your career.