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Do I Need to Hire an eLearning Developer?

Instructional designers and eLearning developers have two distinct roles in the learning and development field. While there is some overlap between the two roles, they have different responsibilities and skill sets.

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Here are some key differences between instructional designers and eLearning developers:

Instructional Designers

Instructional designers structure and outline effective and engaging learning experiences. They research learning trends and approaches, work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to determine what the learner needs to know or do, and then design the broad outlines of the course. They focus on the overall learning experience, including the curriculum, teaching methods, and practical exercises. Depending on the size and scope of the project, they may write storyboards or they may hand off that task to the eLearning developer. Instructional designers should have a deep understanding of learning theory, strong communication and analytical skills, flexibility, and creativity.

eLearning Developers

eLearning developers use different authoring tools, strategies, and creative approaches to bring the instructional designer’s vision to life. Some developers write content and interactions based on an outline from the instructional designer, while others rely on storyboards from the instructional designer to build the course. Either way, they handle the technical side of things, including implementing the design, adding interactive details and feedback, and ensuring the experience works exactly as intended. eLearning developers should have technical programming and multimedia development skills, as well as attention to detail.

In sum, instructional designers focus on designing the learning experience, while eLearning developers focus on implementing the design. While there is some overlap between the two roles, they require different skill sets and responsibilities.

Key Skills Required for an eLearning Developer

Technical Skills

Strong technical skills to effectively implement and deliver eLearning courses, including proficiency in programming languages, multimedia development tools, eLearning authoring tools, Learning Management Systems (LMS), and how SCORM packages work.

Analytical & Problem-Solving Skills

Ability to troubleshoot technical issues and problems and identify ways to improve the functionality, user experience (UX), and user interface (UI) design of the eLearning course.

Writing & Editing Skills

Strong writing skills (based on project needs) to create concise and clear content, activities, and feedback that clearly communicate complex concepts and how to apply them on the job. All developers should have the patience and skills to user-test and copy-edit their own work.

Graphic Design & Multimedia Development Skills

Basic proficiency in graphic design and the ability to leverage visual design, audio recording, and video production tools to create appealing and effective multimedia and interactive elements for the eLearning course.

Project Management & Collaboration

Ability to effectively manage their work in a fast-paced and collaborative environment, partnering with instructional designers, subject matter experts, and other team members to achieve the overall design vision.

Tools that eLearning developers should have expertise in:

Lectora logo

Lectora®: An eLearning authoring tool that offers a wide range of features for creating interactive and multimedia-rich eLearning content. It supports HTML5 and responsive design, making it compatible with various devices. It provides the highest level of accessibility in eLearning authoring tools.

Captivate Logo

Adobe® Captivate: A popular eLearning authoring tool that allows developers to create interactive and engaging eLearning content. It offers features such as responsive design, simulations, and quizzes.

Articulate Logo

Articulate® Storyline: A widely used eLearning authoring tool that enables developers to create interactive and customizable eLearning courses. It offers a user-friendly interface and a range of templated features like branching scenarios, assessments, and multimedia integration.

Elucidat Logo

Elucidat: A cloud-based eLearning authoring tool for creating responsive and mobile-friendly eLearning content. It offers features like collaboration, templates, and analytics.

iSpring Suite Logo

iSpring Suite: An eLearning authoring tool that is known for its ease of use and intuitive interface. It allows developers to create interactive courses, quizzes, and assessments.

For more immersive experiences, an eLearning developer should also be able to use virtual reality and game-authoring tools like CenarioVR® and The Training Arcade®. Lastly, eLearning developers should know how and when to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to streamline their workflow.

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