Working on e-Learning projects

Working on e-Learning projects

I have been quite remiss in posting, and my proposed site redesign obviously hasn’t been completed. Honestly, the main drive behind updating and redesigning my site was to find a job when I was unemployed. After I found full-time employment in September I lost my main motivation to blog. Now that I’ve been working in that job for a few months I’ve learned some things worth sharing.

I currently work for a precision agriculture company and my role is to create the online training materials to educate their dealers. Precision agriculture was totally new to me when I took the position and it’s actually a really fascinating field. Today, however, I’d like to focus on what I’ve learned about designing and publishing e-Learning content.

I don’t know if this is true for everyone who designs e-Learning courses, but since I am THE e-learning person at the company I must have a diverse skill set. Throughout a normal week these are some of the titles you could attribute to the work I do:

  • Instructional Designer – The most important part of my job is making sure that the student engages with the material and comes away learning the key points we want them to understand. I figure out the overall approach for presenting the material and everything else in this list is necessary to support this end goal.
  • Graphic Designer – I find (Open Clip Art Library or Flickr), edit, or create graphics and illustrations using GIMP and Inkscape. Create visual layouts for pages and content.
  • Writer / Director – I script the course and supplemental videos, then direct the screencast or video.
  • Voice Actor / Sound Engineer – I record myself doing the narration for the course content, then remove noise, normalize the volume, and trim clips using Audacity.
  • Video Editor – I edit video clips, add audio and soundtracks, and incorporate still images and callouts using Camtasia.
  • Animator – Many concepts are more easily explained with short animations. I create these using PowerPoint for short WMV files, or GIMP for animated GIFs. (I plan to upload some examples in the near future.)
  • Web Designer – I use a software suite called Lectora to create and publish the overall e-Learning course. The pages are published as HTML and JavaScript, and my understanding of both languages has made the process easier, especially when designing interactive games and quizzes.
  • Web Administrator – I upload the final product to Absorb LMS, our Learning Management System. Configuring the LMS is much like using Drupal or other content management systems. You can get by without knowing much of the behind-the-scenes tech, but understanding and introducing a solid information architecture will make long-term management of the system easier.

I’ve found that I can really thrive and enjoy this role as a producer of online training content because it incorporates so many of my interests, especially uniting education and design. Do you or anyone you know create e-Learning content? How many of these responsibilities do you have?

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