American football player Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”. Today there is a lot of international focus on e-learning and the return on investment (ROI) this digital learning industry can foster. We know that a group of talented individuals who know how to pull a job contribute to success.
Let’s see the roles required for building an e-learning team and the skills required to fulfill those roles. Nuances exist in every organization about what these job titles would entail and the functions they represent. The structure of your e-learning team can vary in accordance with the number of roles and the scope of the e-learning course.
Stakeholders own the e-learning project. They may not be directly involved in the development of an e-learning course, but they are the guys who would invest, provide feedback, and approve the final e-learning course. Therefore, stakeholders are expected to have a clear vision about the e-learning intervention and provide direction to the training manager.
Training managers are responsible for catering to the organization’s ever-changing training needs and updating the skills of the workforce. They have the responsibility of choosing the right training team that can cater to the e-learning demands.
Considering the multiple training requirements, feasibility, and budget constraints, a training manager decides whether to entrust e-learning development to an in-house team or to outsource to an e-learning vendor who has in-depth knowledge of the best practices of e-learning and can develop a customized course according to the requirements of your organization.
The Project manager is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the e-learning project. This person maintains an agile system of communication with every party involved in the course development through regular meetings, and ensures the content gets signed-off from the stakeholder after every stage and their suggestions are rightly incorporated.
With excellent planning and application skills, he/she will ensure there is perfect rapport among the members of the e-learning team and the final course is ready within the agreed timeframe and budget for execution.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
An SME is someone who has specific knowledge of the course content. Thus, in most cases, different subject matter experts are employed for each course, unless you get an expert specialized in a variety of subject matters such as products, processes, and technology. They develop accurate content for the subject and help instructional designers develop an online course that meets the training objectives.
Instructional Designers (IDs)
IDs are learning and development experts with in-depth knowledge in strategies of instructional designing, adult learning principles, and theories of learning. Based on the course content created by the SMEs, IDs design learner-centric courses and break them into modules and units for easy comprehension of learners. They chunk the content screen-wise using interactivities, assessments, activities, and resources, and create a form and flow to the course.
Visual designers are also a part of the learning and development team. They bring in animation, sound, interactivities, and videos to the e-learning course. These multimedia experts make the e-learning course visually appealing and engaging using interactive elements and graphics. They customize the course with the organization’s branding requirements such as logo, colors, fonts, layouts, and so on.
Language is a crucial element while training multilingual employees. Thus, it is always better to have a pool of translators with expertise in various languages and domains to satisfy learner requirements. A translator renders e-learning content effectively and quickly into the target language(s). Some organizations use in-house employees as translators. However, this practice has pitfalls as most internal translators may not have both linguistic and subject matter expertise. It is a good option to outsource translations to a vendor with in-house domain and linguistic experts.
Authoring Tool Experts
They are highly skilled experts who work on authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, iSpring, and Lectora. Based on the training requirements, nature of content, multilingual requirements, and available development time, these experts leverage the benefits of these tools. They develop the storyboard designed by the ID team and bring out an engaging and immersive e-learning by including multimedia elements, layouts, navigations, and screens.
The technology team possesses sound knowledge of different web-based applications and tools such as HTML5 and Learning Management Systems. Using an LMS, they host the fully developed e-learning course globally. They must also have the expertise in testing courses for SCORM/AICC compatibility.
The LMS administrator who takes care of the daily operations of the LMS is also an essential part of the technology team. LMS Admin monitors all uploaded training activities, maintains training records of employees, and generates statistical reports of employee progress for review.
Hope this blog helped you refresh your thoughts on what an ideal e-learning development team looks like and what it takes to create a winning team. Remember, these are not mutually exclusive roles. In certain situations, one individual can wear more than one hat. For example, one person can be both a visual designer and authoring tool expert, or an authoring tool expert and instructional designer. Thus, for every e-learning project, we need not have all these nine people, but we need these roles, whether they are performed by several people or one.