eLearning is rapidly becoming the go-to mode of instruction for organizations big or small. The corporate world’s attraction to eLearning is unsurprising and valid. It is a cost-effective, time-saving, and efficient way to deliver training anytime and anywhere. Like any endeavor that offer great results, creating eLearning is not a one-man show. It’s a collaborative effort of professionals with specific skills required in different stages in eLearning design and development.

Who are these people and what exactly do they contribute to creating eLearning? In this article, we’ll describe each key player’s roles and responsibilities in making an effective and engaging eLearning course.

Stakeholders

The stakeholders are individuals or groups that have an interest in the outcome of an organization. In a corporate set-up, they are usually team leaders, managers, directors or executives who realized a need for training. Stakeholders secure the funding or budget for the course, provides input in the training needs analysis stage of the project, and often approves the final output of eLearning course before it is launched or deployed to intended learners. Stakeholders are indispensable in an eLearning project because of their capability to allocate resources. Resources is not only limited to funding, but more importantly, a stakeholder can provide access to more project members and subject matter experts. During the training needs analysis stage, they can provide the project team a detailed profile of target learners. A good stakeholder can provide support by encouraging front liners and managers to support the eLearning initiative upon launch.

Project Managers

Creating good eLearning needs to have a set beginning and an end. It is a project that needs a conductor or leader. An eLearning project manager is responsible for estimating the timeline of the project, managing the “deliverables” of each member of the project team, ensuring the proper allocation of resources such as time and budget and delivering the course within the set deadline. Being a project manager entails plenty of leadership skills such as effective communication, time and resource management, people management, collaboration, problem solving and decision making, as well as agility. A project manager should have the biggest involvement in the project, so it helps for him to understand all of the roles and responsibilities of all the other key players. Being a jack of all trades is a desirable trait of an eLearning project manager.

SMEs (Subject Matter Experts)

Content is a very important part of the eLearning course. Building it requires an individual who is knowledgeable about the topic of the subject being discussed in the eLearning course. A subject matter expert can be a facilitator, a trainer, a team manager or a high potential front liner. A good subject matter expert must have first-hand knowledge and experience about the topic of the eLearning course. He must be able to put this into writing, which will eventually become the course content. The subject matter expert needs to be thorough, organized and willing to share his expertise. He can also double as a content writer for the course.

Instructional Designer

An instructional designer is responsible for identifying the skills, knowledge and attitude gaps of the target learners and to create, curate and recommend learning experiences to bridge this gap. One of the most relevant jobs of an instructional designer is to conduct studies called training needs analysis to get a deep understanding of the learner profile—what they are like (demographics), what they already know, what they need to know, and how they prefer to learn (learning style and habits). Instructional designers are also responsible for designing and structuring the content. His goal is to secure and maintain learner engagement, so courses have 100% or relatively high completion rate. To achieve, he is responsible for a sequential and smooth flow of information that works for all types of learners. An instructional designer also needs to collaborate with SMEs and have knowledge of multimedia tools. He needs to have good collaboration, communication and implementation skills.

Instructional Developer

An eLearning project may have one or several instructional developers on the team. Instructional developers are individuals who are highly skilled in using authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Flash, Adobe Captivate, Lectora and others. He should also be knowledgeable in editing video and audio to be used as assets in the course. Instructional developers must be skilled in developing a course according to a storyboard, create the layout, screens, navigations and multimedia elements that complete the course package. A good instructional developer is able to manage time and tasks well, and should be able to deliver what is on the brief that is normally provided by the instructional designer.

Technology Experts

Creating eLearning needs the expertise of technical personnel. A technology expert ensures that the completed eLearning course will be deployed seamlessly to the intended learners. He must be proficient in the use of different web applications such as LMS (Learning Management System), LCMS (Learning Content Management System), Java, and HTML5. He should also be responsible for providing support in case learners encounter hosting-related issues when the eLearning course is launched.

Test Learners

Like any new piece of technology, an eLearning course needs a dry run before it is actually launched. Test learners or beta testers can be recruited to provide insightful feedback and discover bugs or glitches in the first version of the course. Test learners are asked to go through the course as a target learner would and write a report about their experience. The project team can opt to provide a test script for test learners to follow. A good test learner has attention to detail, is naturally curious and eager to learn, and is able to write a complete and accurate account of his experience in the course. His report will be the basis of revisions or iterations to be made on the course. Creating eLearning, despite what others may believe, is not child's play. It requires a team of dedicated, talented and committed individuals who are willing to collaborate with one another to create a course that achieves the learning objectives.