Career Spotlight: How to Become and Elearning Developer

If you like working with technology to create learning experiences then e-learning development might be just the thing you are looking for.  In this article, I’ll give you a real world view on how to become an E-learning Developer based on my many years of experience.

For information on a variety of learning and development roles, check out I Want To Be in L&D: Getting Started in Learning and Development

What is an E-Learning Developer?

In the strictest sense, an e-learning developer (or e-learning designer, or e-learning specialist) focuses on the creation of e-learning using a variety of software tools.  They may also be responsible for the instructional design, but not necessarily.  There are companies and projects where the e-learning developer is only doing that – the building/creating of the e-learning.  i.e. someone else (an instructional designer) creates the outline, objectives, storyboards, etc… and then hands that over to the e-learning developer who then builds it in whatever tool.

I think it’s important to understand that being an e-learning developer isn’t necessarily the same as being an instructional designer.  I mention this because I see people posting about wanting to get into “instructional design” when what they really want to do is focus on e-learning and building courses in something like Storyline or Captivate.  There is nothing wrong with that (wanting to build and create in these and other software products).  To be honest, my favorite part of an e-learning project is getting into the software and creating.  So, if that is what you truly want to focus on and not worry about all of the pesky up front analysis stuff that an instructional designer does, then I’d be looking more at “e-learning developer” type jobs.

Having said that, my personal experience has been that I have had to do both the instructional design and the e-learning development when creating e-learning, even when my title wasn’t specifically “Instructional Designer”.  As I mentioned in my ID Spotlight article, it gets really confusing as to what roles are responsible for what as there is a lot of cross over depending on where you work.  These articles are a good starting place to figure out the kind of work you want to do.  And then, rather than getting hung up on a particular job title, look at the job descriptions as you search and use that as your guide for whether or not you want to apply for that job.

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Career Spotlight: How to Become an Instructional Designer

Updated 10/2021

Are you a creative person who likes to help others learn? Do you enjoy working in a variety of tools while identifying potential training opportunities?  Then a career as an instructional designer might be for you!  In this article, I will share my tips and tricks on how to become an instructional designer based on my 20+ years of corporate experience.

For an overview of several Learning and Development positions, check out I Want To Be in L&D: Getting Started in Learning and Development

What is an Instructional Designer?

When you think about a training class or a job aid or an e-learning course, they didn’t just appear magically out of thin air.  Someone had to design and build them.  That person is (typically) an instructional designer.  I realize that is a pretty simplistic way to explain it and I’ll go into more detail as we move along.  At the most basic level, though, that is what an instructional designer is.  They are the person who designs the instruction.

For the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on jobs where the main responsibility is instructional design.  Throughout most of my career, I held positions where I did a lot of instructional design but I also did other things like facilitate classes and/or administer the Learning Management System.  I will spotlight those types of positions in a separate article, though.

Also, a lot of the cool kids are calling themselves “Learning Experience Designer” or “LXD” nowadays.  I have also seen “Learning Designer”.  Those are basically the same as what I will be describing here.  I do like those titles and think they probably more aptly describe the role but, most job postings and companies that I’ve seen still use the “old school” term.

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Corporate Training Classroom

UPDATED: 10/2021

I didn’t know I wanted to become a Corporate Trainer until I was selected to teach Walt Disney World Traditions back in the early 90’s.  Once I got a taste of how energizing it was to hold an audience’s attention and inspire them, I was hooked.  I decided that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up which led to a 20+ year career in Learning and Development.

Becoming a corporate trainer involves a good understanding of the role as well as getting experience with conducting training.

If you are interested in a corporate training job but not sure where to start, read on, friend.  You are in the right place!

Looking for an overview of several Learning and Development positions? Check out “I Want to Be in L&D: Getting Started in  Learning and Development”.

What is a Corporate Trainer?

I am using the term “Corporate Trainer” but this is just one possible job title you might see.  Other examples may include Trainer, Training Facilitator, Learning Facilitator, Regional Trainer, Training Instructor, Sr. Instructor, Sales Training Facilitator, etc…

For the purposes of this article, I am focusing on jobs where the main responsibility is conducting/facilitating training.  For example, as a Regional Sales Trainer for CarMax, I did NOT have any instructional design responsibilities.  I trained employees on the CarMax Way (new employee orientation) and also conducted week long sales training for new sales employees that consisted of both classroom and some one on one training.  This is the type of role I will be highlighting here.

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Learning and Development Professional conducting a training class

The Learning and Development (or Training and Development…or Talent Development…) field can be a very fun, exciting and lucrative place to build a career.  But how do you get started?  What type of job is the best fit?  What do you need to know before making the leap?  That’s what this article is all about!  We’re going to take a look at some of the most common positions within L&D along with my insider’s view on what each one does and how you can get started with pursuing them.

To get started in a Learning and Development career, you first need to decide what you want to do.  Some of the most common jobs within Learning and Development include Corporate Trainer, Instructional Designer, E-Learning Developer or some combination of these.

You may already have an idea on what you’d like to do but let’s take a closer look at some of these roles and help you find the best fit.

Continue reading “I Want to Be in L&D: Getting Started in Learning and Development”