Core activity 5.2: Diversity challenge
Having reflected on ‘elearning’ and the difficulty I found in identifying it as a distinct profession, this activity encouraged me to further explore the diversity of careers involved in the practice of elearning.
I searched ‘e-learning’ on www.jobs.ac.uk and www.besteducationjobs.co.uk and from the job descriptions for four roles (only one of which was in an HE setting) I produced a Wurdle (a text graphic based on the text within the job adverts).
The roles I selected were:
- Director of eLearning Pedagogical Support Unit (University)
- Instructional Designer (ID)
- Learning Technologies Manager
- eLearning Producer
I wasn’t really surprised by the core requirements of the roles. Many of these are very similar to those in my current role of project manager for a company producing interactive learning materials. Each one conveyed a need to ‘help others/those less experienced’, giving a sense of an environment where ‘elearning’ may still be seen as a new or unknown entity, whether for colleagues or clients.
I summarised the core areas from the four roles as follows:
Design and planning: scoping, instructional/learning design, storyboarding
Creation: designing, writing, editing
Technical expertise: experience and skills across a range of technologies, platforms, content management systems and learning management systems
Innovation: cutting edge, up-to-date with latest research and developments
Support: supporting others and promoting best practice
Manage and lead: project management, leading others
Implementation: of guidelines and processes
This search doesn’t really reflect the full diversity of roles involved with the practice of elearning, these are quite specifically focused on the elearning industry (so I don’t think I’ve met the requirements of the diversity challenge!).
However, other roles that appeared in an ‘elearning’ keyword search with a lower level of relevancy were Lecturer and Programme Lead, where ‘competence in the use of elearning’ was one of several selection criteria and the only one related to elearning. What strikes me is that for many professionals there is a requirement to develop some of the skills and expertise described in the core areas above, but that is only one element of their role and their daily working life. I know how challenging I’m finding it to develop the skills and expertise to deliver learning modules without being responsible for delivering anything else on a daily basis! In those contexts I can see the benefit of any one of the elearning specific roles, to help others to develop their skills alongside someone who can be considered to be ‘an expert’.
I look forward to the time when I can start to feel that I’m becoming one of those experts, able to work together with others on scoping a project and having confidence in my creative input, based on knowledge and experience.