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Over the past decade, the significance of e-learning has become increasingly apparent to corporate organisations and educational institutions throughout the world, which has prompted them to make the sensible shift from paper to pixels. This, in turn, has resulted in a massive increase in employment opportunities within the e-learning sector, particularly for specialised positions, like e-learning design.
E-learning has evolved from its inception as a fairly boring system of presenting information, into a vibrant and accessible tool. Modules are carefully planned so that the most effective method of presenting the material can be used, and lessons are now presented using combinations of animations, video and interactive worksheets. Statistics show that there is a direct correlation between how aesthetically pleasing and interactive a course is, and the amount of information that the learner is able to absorb.
So, how exactly is content converted into something that the learner can relate to?
Designers are used to graphically present concepts to replace paragraphs of difficult text. Animators create moving images to guide the learner visually and dynamically through concepts or to virtually display how something works and moves, and game designers create games where the learner starts having fun while learning. All these tools combined, make e-learning a fun and effective teaching tool.
What is the role of the e-learning designer in this process?
E-learning designers use authoring tools to bring storyboards (created by the instructional designers) to life and to transform them into a virtual experience, which aids learning. The aim is to create a program that is learner-friendly with information that is easy to absorb. It is the design and creation of learning experiences which makes the process of acquiring and retaining new knowledge as appealing and effective as possible.
What qualifications would I need to become an e-learning designer?
E-learning design in itself is a fairly new and emerging career and, while there are some courses on offer, they are not all specifically for e-learning programmes.
In order to become an e-learning designer, you will need to have completed a graphic design course, a multimedia design course, or something similar within that field. The great thing about making a career for yourself as an e-learning designer is the fact that it is a niche field – which means that there aren’t as many people around to compete for the position that you are after.
Any tips for the job?
1. Stay committed to what you are doing
It’s not as simple as slapping something together overnight – you need to sit down and ask yourself whether you would be able to sit through your own e-learning course and whether it would be something that could benefit you. If your answer is yes, then you are on the right track.
2. Stay informed
It also goes without saying that you need to keep up-to-date with the latest software and authoring tools if you want to remain ahead of the competition.
3. Ask questions
If there is something that you are unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can ask a fellow designer or even one of the experts on the blogs you follow. The more you learn, the further you will advance in this industry.
4. Never stop learning
Your resources are almost unlimited – reading blogs and follow as many industry leaders on social networking sites as you can.
It may be hard to get your foot in the door initially, but the more knowledge that you possess about the industry, the easier it will become. Don’t give up.
Learning happens all the time, in the moments when we aren’t even aware that we are learning. E-learning is an incredible learning medium and it has the ability to change the way in which we learn, teach, develop and manage.
Image: Brad Flickinger via Flickr.