How Do I Become an E-Learning Designer?

Lainie Petersen

If you want to become an e-learning designer, you will typically need to complete an educational program in instructional design for online education and may need to accumulate significant work experience in the area of instructional design or education. It is a good idea to also develop proficiency in various types of educational software as well as intermediate and advanced web design skills. The area of e-learning is developing quickly, so it is also to your advantage to keep up with the industry and its technologies by regularly attending workshops and other industry events.

A designer for online training must understand the principles of how people learn.
A designer for online training must understand the principles of how people learn.

Many educators and educational institutions now recognize the significance of e-learning. For some people, an e-learning environment is actually more conducive to education than a traditional classroom. For others, online education represents a convenient way to obtain an education, particularly if the student has significant family or professional responsibilities. As a result, the decision to become an e-learning designer may help to ensure your continued employability, even if you are currently working in the area of education.

Pursing a graduate certificate in instructional design is one way to become an e-learning designer.
Pursing a graduate certificate in instructional design is one way to become an e-learning designer.

You may wish to begin your quest to become an e-learning designer by studying e-learning or online education at university. Many schools, including those that operate entirely online, now offer educational programs that specialize in e-learning by either offering undergraduate majors, graduate degrees, or certificates. The degree program that is best suited to your needs will depend on your work experience and your career goals. If possible, develop your design and computer skills through extensive coursework in these areas while you pursue an e-learning degree.

In situations where you already have a university degree, you have a few options when it comes to studying to become an e-learning designer. The first is to pursue a graduate certificate in the area of e-learning or instructional design. A certificate program will give you the coursework necessary to start your career and is a valuable credential in its own right. Another option is to pursue a graduate degree in online learning. A graduate degree has the advantage of having even more prestige than a certificate, and holding a graduate degree may provide you with more opportunities for advancement.

If you are currently working in an educational setting, talk to your supervisor about the organization's plans for getting involved in e-learning. Express your desire to be involved in these projects. You may be able to get valuable training while on the job, and in some cases your employer may even pay for you to receive training through other sources.

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