Online learning has become an ever greater force since the arrival of COVID-19, making e-learning specialists more important than ever.
If the idea of creating online courses and supporting learners appeals to you, why not pursue a career as an e-learning specialist?
What does an e-learning specialist provide for their workplaces?
An e-learning specialist is responsible for:
Design and development — creating learning content for courses that students or employees take online
Technological solutions — selecting, implementing, and maintaining any technology associated with e-learning programs
Support and training — ensuring participants can make the most out of a course
What fields, industries, and workplaces do e-learning specialists work in?
Typically, they find themselves working in:
companies that provide e-learning services
company departments that provide corporate training
educational institutions like colleges, universities, and school boards
the government sector
What tools do e-learning specialists use?
They work with popular e-learning authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, Lectora, iSpring Suite, H5P, and Easygenerator.
They use these tools to create courses and learning materials. They often integrate these courses into learning management systems (LMS) or cloud-based platforms that these companies and institutions use for internal learning.
What are typical tasks of an e-learning specialist and what does their schedule look like?
Typically, as an e-learning specialist, you'd have a varied day with different tasks depending on the ability and age of your learners.
These might include:
preparation of course materials
moving materials into an LMS
creating assignments for participants
engaging participants in taking part in discussions
checking assignments and replying to participants' questions
preparing final certificates for the course
What skills are necessary to become an e-learning specialist?
When designing e-learning courses, providing suitable content, making quizzes, and building assessment tests are just one part of all that you do.
A career as an e-learning specialist might be for if you are:
good at communicating with your learners
working in an organized and structured way
able to break down content to make it accessible for a wide range of learners
willing to receive and reflect on feedback about your courses
good at learning and using new education technologies
a life-long learner yourself
able to transform classroom teaching out of the box into digital learning spaces such as different learning management systems of platforms like the Metaverse
A career as an e-learning specialist might NOT be the best career if you:
don't have any interest in building relationships with your learners
don't like working under pressure
can't create learning contents for a digital environment
can't commit to keep up-to-date with the newest teaching technologies
don't embrace lifelong learning
But don't worry! Some people transition to e-learning specialists after switching from a prior career, for example, teaching or creating digital content for websites.
If you're not ready to commit to creating e-learning content but still want to get involved in teaching or working with learners, visit a local school or adult learning courses to see if they need mentors or volunteers.
You could also do volunteering in instructional design organizations to see if creating e-learning courses is for you.
Annabelle wants to build a digital e-learning portfolio. What can they do to get started? Select all that apply.
What can I expect in terms of pay and career path?
With e-learning specialists being high in demand, salaries are in general quite high already but are expected to rise in the next few years.
According to Salary.com, the average income for e-learning specialists in the USA is $89,306.
In Canada, e-learning specialists are expected to be paid $72,611 CAD on average, according to ERI Economic Research Institute.
As the typical e-learning specialist might have to work as a freelancer before landing a permanent role in a company, there are some things to consider before making the final jump:
Does your day job allow a side hustle in e-learning design?
Could you survive financially from only designing online courses?
What effect would having to work two jobs have on your social life/family?
Where would you be based and how would that affect your financial situation?
Especially post-pandemic, online teaching is the new norm and with many companies moving their staff training into this area. Expect more demand for highly qualified e-learning specialists.
To start you off with e-learning: