4 skills every digital learning specialist needs in 2023
If you are considering a career in digital learning or if you already work in learning and development but is looking to upskill, we have listed four of the key skills that every digital learning specialist professional needs in 2023.
1. Project Management
Nearly every digital learning project involves several stakeholders. A typical project could involve an instructional designer, an eLearning developer, a subject matter expert, in addition to staff members in management, and marketing getting involved in the signoff process. The curriculum or product designed could be really engaging but if it’s over budget, or not completed in a timely manor, there’s always a chance that the digital learning experience will be hindered.
Digital learning projects typically involve multiple resources, including human resources, technology, and budget. Effective project management helps in allocating and managing these resources efficiently, ensuring that they are utilized optimally to achieve project objectives. Project management also helps in setting realistic timelines, creating project schedules, and monitoring progress against deadlines. This ensures that the digital learning project progresses in a timely manner, avoiding unnecessary delays and ensuring that the project is completed within the stipulated time frame.
One of the benefits of building digital learning experiences is their opportunity to be scaled at large. Often they need to be scaled to cater to changing organizational needs or a growing marketing. Project management helps in planning for scalability and sustainability, ensuring that the project outcomes can be maintained and expanded in the long run.
Lastly, project management ensures the quality of the course is to the highest standard with established processes for quality assurance, including testing, feedback loops, and reviews, to maintain the quality standards throughout the project’s lifecycle. While a typical project manager can run these tasks, proactive digital learning specialists have the ability troubleshoot while working or ensure quality assurance checks are looking for the right problems.
Overall project management is critical for digital learning specialists to effectively plan, execute, and deliver digital learning projects, ensuring that they are completed on time, within budget, and with high quality. All of this ultimately leads to a successful digital learning experience for your learners and the organisations working with digital learning specialists.
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2. Data Analytics
All LMS’s and learning platforms collect useful data (such as engagement data) on learners to varying degrees, while additional data can be found in an organisation’s other main systems (eg Sharepoint, Microsoft Teams). Data analytics provides the digital learning specialist with the ability to collect, analyze, and interpret data related to learners’ interactions with digital learning experiences. This data can inform evidence-based decision making, helping the specialist identify strengths and weaknesses in the learning experiences, make data-driven improvements, and optimize the learning outcomes.
Data analytics can enable personalized and adaptive learning experiences. By analyzing learner data, such as their preferences, progress, and performance, a digital learning specialist can create personalized learning pathways and adapt the content and delivery methods to meet the unique needs of individual learners. This can result in more effective and engaging learning experiences. By building these personalised learning experiences, learners have a higher chance or retaining the information they’ve learned and staying engaged in the content.
In summary, understanding data analytics is crucial for digital learning specialists as it empowers them to make evidence-based decisions, personalize learning experiences, and continuously improve digital learning initiatives for better outcomes. It enables data-driven decision making and optimization of digital learning interventions, leading to more effective and engaging learning experiences for learners.
3. Instructional Design
Instructional design is the practice of designing, developing and delivering a digital learning experience. Instructional design can also be applied to more traditional training environments (such as the classroom), but there are some key differences when designing digital learning experiences. A digital learning specialist needs to be know how to analyse the learners’ needs, and design and deliver an engaging, interactive and effective learning experience to help them learn what they need to know.
To become specialized in instructional design typically requires a combination of education, experience, and professional development. Many instructional designers have a background in education, instructional technology, or a related field. And then to ensure Instructional Design models and theories are being applied in digital learning specific roles, there are numerous online courses and certifications available that can help you gain specialized knowledge in instructional design.
At the Digital Learning Institute, the Diploma in Digital Learning Design and the Professional Certificate in Instructional Design provide the core understanding and theory needed to excel in the digital learning industry alongside hands on projects that provide learners with real digital learning and instructional design experience.
4. Technology & Tools
Like all things digital-related, the world of digital learning moves quickly. While learning design principles may be relatively constant, it’s important to be proactive in learning about emerging trends and tools. Digital learning specialists need to be well-versed in various digital technologies, tools, and platforms used for creating and delivering digital learning content. This includes Learning Management Systems (LMS), authoring tools, multimedia creation tools, virtual learning environments, and other relevant technologies. Staying updated with the latest trends and advancements in educational technology is important to effectively design and deliver digital learning experiences.
Most notably, the rise of AI driven learning and Virtual Reality has been introduced to digital learning experiences. Designing and building courses for learners in VR headsets can apply similar frameworks and tools used in traditional digital learning experiences, but ultimately, these technologies will need their own frameworks and processes to learn about. With AI and ChatGBT, digital learning specialists also have the ability to use tools to help but also to combat learners not engaging with their education in the same format. To do this, learners can take specific courses in Immersive Learning to practice and build these specific skills.