It is fascinating to look back at this long journey! Both from a personal point and the industry as a whole! The early nineties were a fascinating period of economic growth in India. eLearning as an industry began to blossom and companies were steadily earning a name for themselves around the world. From a handful of companies in those early years to over 2,000 big and small companies today; we have come a long way. From putting content on a simple Word file to PowerPoint to the numerous all inclusive authoring tools that rule the market today; so many roles have changed. Look at the distinct designations that existed earlier – content writer, instructional designer, developer, programmer, graphic designer, multimedia artist, quality controller! Today with powerful tools like Articulate, Captivate among others, a professional in the eLearning industry is expected to keep himself/herself abreast of multiple tools and ideate beyond just writing content or just creating images or videos. The rules have changed, the roles have blurred from being distinct to a scenario wherein one individual has to straddle multiple roles. This is what the industry dictates, this is the price that employees pay for the fancy pay-checks, the success parties, the glitz and the glamour that is associated with the industry.
Let us look at some key points that every beginner who aims to make a career in the fascinating world of eLearning should remember. I had some good people whose guidance helped me in the early stages of my professional life and I seek to condense my learning and share it here for those embarking on this incredible adventure of a life and career in eLearning.
1 – Stay focused and keep your eyes and ears open
The important thing is to have a hunger and curiosity to learn. You will be put through a training programme; glean as much as you can from your trainers. Read a lot; observe top courses built by your organization and others. Acquire knowledge; it will hold you in good stead. Bloom’s Taxonomy, Gagne’s Theory, ADDIE, these would be standard terms of learning in the early days! You may want to download the ‘Free Kirkpatrick Learning Model Workbook ‘ – it will definitely be helpful.
2 – Target audience analysis and client requirements
This will be your bread and butter! Ensure you are aware of your target audience! The people who will take up the course you are creating and also keep in mind the requirements of your client! An elephant is the requirement – offer an elephant – not a camel!
3 – Technologies evolve – so should you
As stated in the first paragraph, I have seen the storyboarding process evolve from jotting down ideas in a notebook – drawing on whiteboard with sketch pen to a Word document to all the fancy authoring tools that came later. Tomorrow might see more powerful, innovative and all inclusive tools entering the market that could probably be as simple as a drag and drop course creator with pre-defined characters, which will allow you to create full-fledged course all by yourself. So keep abreast of new technologies and learn.
4 – Speak to people beyond your team
Make friends at work! It is an important point stressed by human resource strategists and corporate thought leaders. You should have at least one best friend at work that you can trust and confide in with your thoughts. Speak to people, smile, it is a positive trait and be keen to know what the organization is working on and see how you can contribute to the growth.
5 – No task is too small, no one too big to not do it
The last five years have fueled the start-up culture led by young minds that stresses on the value of work and dignity of labour. No task is too small for you to not do it. Acquire skills, help others, communicate clearly, and respect your colleagues and co-workers. You are a part of a team, a component of a system, work together for personal and organizational progress as a whole.
6 – Sign up for professional certifications
We keep hearing scary tales of employees being asked to quit in leading firms. Analysts are not painting a rosy picture; the post-Trump era means a massive shift in the way business flows in from the USA to India. Brexit and its ramifications and cheaper support and service from countries like the Philippines, Ukraine and Slovakia means that there are going to be further job-cuts. Learn a new language (Japanese, Korean or German), learn animation or digital marketing or search engine optimization. Get professional certification in these skills. Stay ahead on this game of professional success and fulfillment.