No matter your perception regarding eLearning, there are a few basic skills that you need to cultivate to make it work. First and foremost, check out any educational journal and you’ll realise that each one has a set of educational technology skills a trainer or eLearning developer should have. Typically, two main topics appear most frequently as far as pursuing a career in eLearning content development is concerned. These topics are how to get started in eLearning and the basic skills. Below are 8 basic skills great eLearning developers need to cultivate to make their content development tasks much easier.
1. Graphic Design Basics
Being a pro graphic designer is not a prerequisite for eLearning developers. But, having a few graphic design basics is essential as they will help you out when it comes to handling common tasks in any graphic design tool. It is important to have the ability to choose fonts, color schemes, layout content and remove the background from an image. These skills are critical when designing eLearning graphics and images.
2. Instructional Design Knowledge
Instructional design can be defined as the discipline of instructionally designing useful learning materials. A good instructional designer should be able to look at information or data, synthesize it and select what is most important and relevant to the learners. Furthermore, he/she should be able to present the extracted information in a manner that will make it possible for students to retain the knowledge. With a few basic instructional design skills, it is possible to go through your content and set apart the one that can improve the learner’s skills and knowledge.
3. Concise & Clear Writing Skills
Textual content is a very important element of any eLearning course. Therefore, having a solid mastery of language as well as a strong vocabulary is very important. You should be in a position to write not only correctly but also concisely and consistently. Because spelling and grammar mistakes in your text can make the entire course look less professional and damage your credibility, it is recommended that you ask someone else to review your work to ensure there aren’t any grammar or spelling mistakes.
4. Knowledge of Current & Emerging eLearning Tools & Applications
The amazing thing about being an eLearning developer in this era of advanced technological know-how is that you’ve access to a wide range of eLearning tools and media that you can use to enhance the overall eLearning experience of your learners. But, you ought to have in-depth knowledge of how each of the tools and applications work so that you can utilise them in a learning environment. This means you’ve no choice other than to take time to inform yourself about their availability and functionality.
5. Strong Sense of Organisation
The manner in which content is organised affects the ability of the learners to understand it. A good eLearning developer should be able to sort and organise the information in the best way possible, making it easier for the students to read and comprehend. It is essential to have content laid out in a logical order, be it chronologically, alphabetically or whatever way makes the most sense. Doing so helps ensure your learners are not left "hanging" due to incomplete content.
6. Learning Management System (LMS) Master
Creating effective lessons and assignments in an online environment requires tools. According to researchers, eLearning yields higher success rates as well as advanced reasoning skills compared to conventional learning. Therefore, as a training developer, it is impossible to do without these tools. For starters, you should know the difference between an online Cloud LMS and a stand-alone LMS. Take your time to learn how the LMS tools are used so that you can showcase your eLearning courses to your learners. It will also enable you to manage your e-learners more effectively.
7. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving Expertise
There’re two main reasons why it’s important for any eLearning professional to be an analytical thinker and an expert problem solver. First and foremost, you are bound to encounter many challenges while creating or designing eLearning deliverables, such as facing challenges with your layout design or finding it difficult to convert the assembled information into a powerful and highly crafted eLearning module.
But, if you’re an analytical thinker and an expert problem solver, you will be able to think outside the proverbial box and approach any problem that may appear in a better and more organised way. It also allows you to identify new techniques or approaches to eLearning. By thinking analytically, you will be able to pinpoint innovative ways of delivering content. Furthermore, you’ll be able to appeal to different learning needs if you think analytically.
8. Social Media for eLearning
There is an overwhelming surge in popular social media hangouts, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat and YouTube among others. Blogs are also gaining power and appeal with each passing day, a clear indication that social media is gaining popularity among Internet enthusiasts. As an educator or trainer, connecting with your learners using popular social media platforms is a great way to customise the learning experience to suit their needs.
Using social media tools in a learning management system is a good way to get the learners to connect and hang out with you. Inform your students that your social media channels have many like-minded individuals with similar aspirations and goals in life. Additionally, social media is an amazing marketing tool because announcements for updates or even new courses can reach learners faster compared to other channels such as emails.
See Also: E-learning Trends to Follow in 2015
eLearning content development has been made simpler and more fun by advanced technological tools and applications. As an eLearning developer, it is your responsibility to equip yourself with the right information and skills so that you’re not left behind. Embrace these skills because they play an instrumental role as far as developing professional eLearning content is concerned.
Have you ever run an eLearning course? What were the challenges? Your thoughts and comments below please...