Webinar Highlights: Digital Careers in Learning and Development
A few days ago, we invited Nick Bate, co-founder of Blue Eskimo, to host a webinar discussing digital careers in the learning & development sector.
It was an incredibly valuable and interesting session, which highlighted how job roles and career paths in learning and development are changing. And consequently, how the pandemic has affected salaries, attitudes to hybrid working and career objectives in L&D.
Here are the key takeaways from his presentation:
How are job roles and career paths in L&D changing?
The significant digital skills transfer into L&D has impacted job roles and career paths, particularly over the last few years. The below are some of the emerging roles Nick explored in the webinar.
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Agile Project Management
L&D recruiters have seen a surge in the demand for digital L&D Project Managers with experience using the agile methodology. Agile Project Management has traditionally been the domain of software development companies due to increased pressure to quickly complete software development projects. Getting content developed quicker has been the main transfer into digital and blended learning, as L&D functions face a need become more responsive with regularly-shifting project objectives and timeframes.
UX & UI Design (Learning Experience Design)
Looking at UX and LX, really highlights the change of pace in the industry as we now talk about traditional eLearning in the same way we used to speak about classroom training. The ‘Click Next’ learning approach has been replaced by more responsive and adaptive digital learning that puts the learner experience at the heart of the learning. In the best examples, the content anticipates what a learner might want to do/ learn & ensure that the interface contains easily accessible and understandable elements.
According to the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) 2/3 of the biggest challenges for L&D leaders is embedding learning into the flow of work and building an organisational learning culture. When carried out correctly LX can have a huge positive impact, hence increasing the demand for LX designers as opposed to traditional instructional designers.
Although there are numerous automated content curation tools out there, learners are suffering from an overwhelming amount of content. So in many cases, they need a human touch to find, filter and interpret the content before sharing it with the appropriate users. This is where subject matter experts are increasingly helping to contextualise and re-engineer content for particular audiences.
Learning analytics is defined as the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners & hence optimising the learning environment. As digital solutions in L&D become more powerful and sophisticated, it feeds the need to understand and interpret the data that’s being produced. When done properly, it can aid in the making of confident, accurate data informed decisions about the behaviour of learners. Furthermore, it can mitigate risks in areas like compliance & ethics and also enables L&D functions to serve more accurate learning content to specific audiences with their individual needs. It also can help in the creation of learning hubs or communities based on individual learning preferences and requirements.
Product managers in L&D are a relatively new, combining the skills of learning technology, learning experience, market knowledge, functionality, etc. The role requires people with a deep understanding of the learning products being developed and how they’re likely to be used by learners, what the user needs and how to improve them. It was originally the domain of the vendors and commercial providers, but Nick predicts we will see this role appear more in other organisations who perhaps have larger L&D functions. He believes they will be working alongside L&D managers, business partners and the digital learning content & platform teams.
The way in which learners consume content has increased exponentially, there’s no longer a beginning, a lunch break, and an end. So learning community managers are there to help connect distributed learners by creating learning communities and hubs, where learners can share ideas for mutual benefit. This needs to be managed proactively, linked to business strategy, and regularly evaluated to ensure best practice.
Typically, low learner engagement rates are commonplace. Nick believes this is due to busy work schedules, cultural resistance to work time learning but also the lack of effective promotion of the content. Digital marketing in the context of learning is about ensuring that learning content & solutions are marketed and communicated effectively to the right audiences. They can also form part of a talent attraction strategy by building an external L&D brand.
Learning tech and performance consulting roles can overlap with product management, however both roles work equally as well in tandem. There’s often a gap between what a learning technologies vendor can provide and what’s needed by the end client/ organisation. This role consults on the best use of the learning tech. This could involve looking at how tech can support mapping out competency frameworks, learner journeys and assessment solutions.
Finally, we would like to express our thanks to Nick Bate for sharing his knowledge & insights with us.
If you would like to see the full recording contact us here.
Click here to register for our next free Virtual Open Day on 15th March, where we will present our Professional Diploma in Digital Learning Design to anyone interested in upskilling or starting a career in Digital Learning.