A technology advert is a double-edged sword: on one side, it considerably simplifies our lives, on the other one – cuts short the number of available jobs, and thereby sets off a so-called “technological unemployment”.
While some people give up because of this, others, in their turn, retrain and go all the way with their heads held high. If you are more of a second type, I prepared a guide to the eLearning job market for you, where the number of jobs with the rise of technology has only increased.
ELearning (also called online education, distance education) is a field where education is conducted with the help of electronic devices.
Since the distance education is more affordable, readily available and is more flexible in terms of schedule, more and more people around the world prefer it to the traditional, classroom-based education, which, in its turn, sets off the need in the eLearning industry professionals.
The eLearning job market is quite wide and to find a job that is interesting and at the same time corresponds with the expertise you possess might require some time and effort, particularly when there is no experience or skills required for the desired job position.
But who told that’s going to be easy?
1. Market Research
The first step is to do the market research.
There are several ways to enter the eLearning industry field:
1. By becoming an online educator or instructor. If you have a blog or teaching experience you can monetize the knowledge by applying for a job of an online instructor or by opening your own online training school.
2. By reselling the educational software like Learning Management Systems* (LMS) and Authoring Tools**.
*A Learning Management System (also called LMS) is software used to create, manage and deliver online learning materials.
**An authoring tool is software used to create a SCORM*** compliant content that can be later uploaded to an LMS.
***SCORM is a collection of standards ensuring content compatibility with any SCORM compliant LMS (instead of remaking the content you can reuse it many times).
If you ever get lost among the unknown eLearning terms, feel free to browse the list of the Most Known ELearning Terms.
3. By consulting people on eLearning software. There are over 700 Learning Management Systems vendors and around 50 eLearning Authoring Tool providers. It is not surprising that instead of looking for the right software themselves people prefer to hire eLearning consultants to give them technical advice.
4. By administering an LMS. Learning Management Systems can be free and commercial, hosted in the Cloud and installed on the client’s website. If an LMS is free or there is a need for an LMS to be installed on the client’s website (installed LMS solutions meet the security requirements of governmental organizations and can be customized to distinguish the project from the competitors), there might be a need for hiring an LMS administrator with technical skills.
5. By designing and creating courses with the help of Authoring Tools. As I have already mentioned, eLearning authoring tools are used to create SCORM compliant eLearning content. To make an eLearning course effective, well designed and engaging, an instructional designer, content developer, course developer and audio engineer are usually hired.
6. By promoting and advertising eLearning projects and websites. As any other market, the market of online courses is highly competitive. Well-designed and engaging courses need to be marketed and promoted to find their potential clients. If you have a marketing background all doors are open!
Below you will find a table with the eLearning job functions, a list of the duties carried and the skills required for the position.
Think of what you have a way with and choose 1-2 related functions you might be interested in.
ELearning job function
An instructional designer designs online courses with the help of authoring tools.
The knowledge of industry trends, learning techniques, graphic design.
An eLearning consultant helps clients to choose educational software to meet the project needs and specifics.
ELearning and EdTech market knowledge, good communication and analytic skills, critical thinking, problem-solving.
A content developer is in charge of writing content, creating videos and building presentations to be used in online courses.
Good writing and editorial skills, attention to details, copywriting experience.
A course developer structures online courses to maximize their efficiency for a company or an institution.
Writing and communication skills, the field knowledge, creativity, strong research and analytic skills.
An LMS administrator is in charge of LMS installation, management, customization, integrations, troubleshooting and maintenance.
Technical background, coding and data management knowledge.
Learning and Development Specialist
A learning and development specialist plans, conducts and administer eLearning programs.
Analytical and interpersonal skills, written, verbal and presentation skills, decision-making.
ELearning Marketing Specialist
An eLearning marketing specialist promotes, markets and advertises an eLearning project to get more exposure.
Creativity, written, interpersonal, analytical and coding skills (HTML, CSS), critical thinking.
Subject Matter Expert
A subject matter expert is an industry professional who defines the learning objects and gives feedback on how the courses are being developed.
Excellent communication skills, analytical and critical thinking.
2. Gain the Knowledge / Experience
The second step is to gain the knowledge or experience necessary for being hired for a desired position.
There are a number of “online” and “offline” ways to do so:
- To attend a school training;
- To take online courses. The online services like Capterra and Udemy provide dozens of courses for eLearning industry professionals free of charge (the certificates are paid, however);
- To read books, blogs, online journals, industry reports and statistics;
There are a few I like most of all:
Join groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ where people share valuable insights or answer each others’ questions:
LinkedIn ELearning and EdTech Groups:
- Learning, Education and Training Professionals Group (over 217 900 members);
- eLearning Industry (over 97 000 members);
- E-Learning 2.0 (over 66 500 members);
- ISTE – international Society for Technology in Education (over 65 700 members);
- The eLearning Guide (over 52 100 members);
- TechinEDU (Technology in Education) (over 41 900 members);
- Elearning edge – For Global Learning Strategies (over 27 000 members);
- Training and Development for eLearning (over 22 900 members);
- eLearning Companies (over 10 500 members);
- Instructional Design Forum (over 9100 members);
- Learning and Development (over 8700 members);
- Learning Development Institute (over 7700 members);
- LMS and e-learning (over 7200 members);
- Education Technology Group – The 21 Century Classroom(over 6200 members);
- Rapid e-Learning (over 5700 members);
- eLearning Professionals Network (over 4200 members);
- Education Technology Specialists (over 4100 members);
Google Plus ELearning and EdTech Communities:
- Education Revolution (more than 412 200 members);
- Educational Technology (more than 325 800 members);
- Education (more than 189 800 members);
- Teaching Resources (more than 134 800members);
- EdTech (more than 48 219 members);
- Technology & innovation in Education (more than 30 300 members);
- Teachers Helping Teachers (more than 28 900 members)
- E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC (more than 21 200 members);
- Higher Education & Technology (more than 10 000 members);
- eLearning Development (more than 8600 members);
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) (more than 7800 members);
- instructional Design & E-Learning Professionals’ G (more than 5600 members);
- Tech in Edu. (more than 5400 members).
Facebook ELearning and EdTech Public Groups:
- Future Classroom Scenarios;
- E-Learning technologies;
- EU Educators;
- eLearning Specialists;
- eLearning Industry;
- eLearning Club;
- Instructional Designer;
- Educational Challenges in Digital Era;
- E-Learning Resources;
- e-Learning in Developing and Developed Countries;
- Connect with industry professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter;
- Apply for an internship;
- Participate in forum discussions;
- Attend online webinars;
- Request free trials of educational software;
- Attend eLearning conferences where you can not only gain knowledge but also meet industry professionals and HR specialists (e-learning conferences worldwide).
3. Start Looking for Jobs
The third step is to look for vacant positions.
There are a number of places to find a job as a full-time specialist or a freelancer.
Here is a list of places where you can start your search:
- ELearning Industry Job Board;
- Local job boards;
- LinkedIn Jobs;
- Official Companys’ websites;
- Google Hangouts;
- Forums of leading authoring tools providers (E-Learning Heroes, Freelance Heroes);
- Social media websites;
- Freelance websites (freelancer.com, www.odesk.com, www.elance.com, www.upwork.com);
- Employment-related search engines (indeed.com)
- Instructional Design Jobs;
- Online Teaching Job Board;
As you can see, there are a number of options to set foot in the eLearning job market. If you know more places to look for an eLearning field job, please share in the comments below!