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As I look at the past year or so, there’s one thing I know to be true: the eLearning industry is in demand! Not only are organizations looking to invest more money in eLearning and other digital learning solutions, but there’s also a huge influx of individuals looking to transition their careers to eLearning.

However, if you’re one of the many folks looking to make the leap into eLearning, it can be a bit tricky trying to get your foot in the door. This is especially true if you don’t have any previous eLearning experience. The good news is, whether you’re an instructional designer, a former teacher, a trainer, or any type of learning professional, there’s plenty of opportunity for you in this industry.

So, in this post, I’m covering my top tips for how to become an eLearning designer.

Determine What Appeals to You About eLearning

Become an eLearning designer by figuring out what appeals to you about eLearning.

My first tip for how to become an eLearning designer is to figure out what appeals to you about becoming an eLearning designer in the first place. And I’ll be honest; this will be one of the most challenging questions you’ll have to answer for yourself.

The eLearning industry is incredibly diverse in terms of the area of focus you can specialize in. Some folks like to focus on the upfront instructional design, some like to focus on storyboarding, and others prefer to focus on eLearning development. For example, I am very passionate about how visual design and interactivity can create engaging learning experiences.

The truth is, it’s up to you to figure out how and where your talents and passions intersect. Once you determine that, you’ll quickly be able to identify where you want to focus your efforts as an eLearning designer. If you’re not sure, trust me, it’ll come in time.

See What Skills are In-Demand

Become an eLearning designer by seeing what skills are in demand and by identifying ways to develop those skills.

My second tip for how to become an eLearning designer is to see what skills employers are looking for and find ways to develop those skills. One of the things that’s quickly changing about our industry is that more and more employers are no longer looking to hire folks based on their credentials alone (i.e., years of experience, a particular college degree, etc.). Instead, employers are focusing more on the skills a potential candidate brings to the table.

So, instead of worrying about going back to school to get an expensive degree or wringing your hands about having little experience, you should focus your energy on building your skills. Ignore the credential requirements employers list on their job openings, and focus on the skills they’ve identified. From there, you can use that as a guide to building those skills on your own.

Whether you choose to build your skills using free content on YouTube, or you watch courses from LinkedIn Learning, or you invest in an eLearning book, or you decide to enroll in an online course, there are countless ways you can start building your skills.

Showcase Your Skills in a Portfolio

Become an eLearning designer by showcasing your skills in an online portfolio.

My third tip for how to become an eLearning designer is to showcase your new skills by building an online portfolio. Following my previous tip, not only are employers looking to hire for skills over credentials, more and more employers are looking for candidates to come prepared with a portfolio to showcase their skills.

While a professional resume is still a standard requirement when applying for a job, and resume can only do so much. The problem with resumes is that they only list your work history and credentials in chronological order. And although you can list your skills on a resume, the truth is, anyone can do that! Employers want to see evidence of the skills you claim to have. This is where a portfolio can come in handy–it’s living proof that you can do the things you say you can do.

How you go about creating your online portfolio is a totally separate topic, for a totally separate post. However, the most important thing is that you include a link to it at every opportunity: on your resume, on your LinkedIn profile, etc.

Connect with Others in the Industry

Become an eLearning designer by connecting with others in the industry who are doing the things you want to be doing.

My fourth and final tip for how to become an eLearning designer is to connect with others in the industry who are doing the things you want to be doing. What I love about our industry is that it’s full of folks who are constantly sharing their knowledge and expertise with others. If you spend five minutes on Twitter or LinkedIn, you’ll quickly see there are tons of people willing to help.

Take some time to identify those folks who inspire you, and don’t be afraid to reach out and make a human connection. Whether you exchange a few emails or hop on Zoom for an hour, take the opportunity to pick their brain, ask questions, and seek advice. You’ll be amazed at how giving our industry is when it comes to helping others.

The Bottom Line

Figuring out how to become an eLearning designer can be a lot of work, but it’s not impossible! It will require effort on your end, but there’s a lot of opportunity and people there to help you. Just remember to focus on identifying your interests and passions, building and showing your skills, and learning from others.

What other tips do you have for becoming an eLearning designer? Share them by commenting below!

Tim Slade

Tim Slade

Hi, I’m Tim Slade, and I’m a speaker, author, and founder of The eLearning Designer's Academy. Having spent the last decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content, I have been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for my creative and innovative design aesthetics. I’m also a regular speaker at international eLearning conferences, a LinkedIn Learning instructor, and author of The eLearning Designer’s Handbook.

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