18 July

The 6 typical roles in a digital learning project

What are the typical roles in a digital learning project? How do they add value? What are their core skills? And how do they work together?

Let’s break down the various roles in a digital learning project and explore the key responsibilities of each one. These can vary depending on the context of the project and there may even be more roles depending on the type of organisation that you work in.

Programme Manager

They have overall responsibility for delivering the outputs of a digital learning project, typically they are the budget holders and the key decision-maker. In large organisations, they might be a Learning or HR Manager.

Project Manager

This role is about ensuring that the final online course is delivered on time, within budget and that it meets the expectations of the end-user and other stakeholders. The responsibility of this role is managing the design process and ensuring that team members are kept on track during the project.

Subject Matter Expert 

Also known as the SME, this is the person who has domain expertise in the content being digitized into an eLearning programme. It might be an existing trainer or someone working in a specific team or department in the organisation. It’s important to consider that as the SME is not always a learning professional, they may not understand learning design or pedagogy, as will sometimes just provide the source content in form of a document, SOP or slides. This is why the next role, the Instructional Designer, is so important.

Instructional Designer

Sometimes called the learning designer, learning experience designer or learning curator, their role is to take the content from SME and map out an engaging digital learning experience based on the learning objectives of the course. The instructional designer needs to be able to work with SME to ensure that the source content has a positive learning impact on the audience. Typically the instructional designer will craft a storyboard or curate existing online resources.

eLearning Developer

The developer takes the storyboard from the instructional designer and builds the eLearning course using an eLearning authoring tool such as Articulate Storyline. Typically, a developer will have technical expertise in a number of tools as well as visual design and UX design expertise.

Community Manager

This role can also be referred to as eModerator or learning mentor. This is a quite broad but very important role and one that is often overlooked. This role supports, guides and mentors your learners as they flow through an online course.

Typically the role that gets skips the most in an eLearning project is the Instructional Designer. A lot of eLearning projects tend to move straight from SME content to development, resulting in passive learning experiences with low levels of engagement and low levels of learning transfer.

The role of the instructional design to build an engaging, fun, interactive experience that meets the learning objectives of a course.