The only way to create an online learning program that works and complements your organization is to plug into the right brainpower. But your online learning team will look a little different from your average training staff. The best programs have teams who are well-trained in working with an online student base.
Here’s how to hire experts who know how everything works, from the learning management system (LMS) to running a virtual classroom–and will provide you with the best services at affordable prices.
Here’s everything you need to know about finding the best training experts.
This is an executive-level manager who is an advocate for the team and able to approve any necessary expenditures. The decision-maker is also the key approver on all decisions—especially ones that require a budget. This person may not attend meetings, but at least reviews executive summaries or meets with the project leader of the team for status. Having executive-level support is essential for a successful program.
An executive-level decision-maker must be internal.
The project manager oversees the full life cycle of the project. This manager also interfaces with the internal client and online learning team, providing schedules and organizing deliverables to keep the project on track. The project manager ensures the team has the information it needs to get the job done.
You can hire an outside project manager, but they should work very closely with an internal liaison. If you’re using a vendor like Talance, they should have a project manager who will run the project for you.
Some responsibilities to add to the training project manager job description:
- Manage development schedules, budgets and deadlines
- Communicate with entire team on project status
- Liaise with internal and external teams as point of contact
Depending on the nature of your course, and if you’re creating it internally, you will need an instructional designer and/or a writer. The instructional designer takes the instructional material and arranges it in a way that’s informative, engaging and serves your pedagogic goals. In other words, they design the online course. Instructional designer Christy Tucker has a nice article on what she does for a living.
This may or may not be the same as a writer. At Talance, we normally work with an independent curriculum writer who specializes in editorial content. This person works closely with the instructional designer to create an interactive course that educates.
Both of these roles can be appointed to outside consultants.
Some responsibilities to add to the instructional designer job description:
- Design courses that meet training needs and outcomes
- Understand and follow ADDIE methodology and SCORM formats
- Develop materials in a range of formats (video, audio, etc.)
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
The instructional designer or curriculum writer works with subject matter experts on the team to develop your online learning content. An SME is not needed for every project. When the subject is new within the organization, the instructional designer may research the subject via books and journals or interview experts in the field.
A subject matter expert can be an internal staff member or an outside professional.
Some responsibilities to add to the subject-matter expert job description:
- Work with the development team to develop the curriculum
- Review materials and guide content development
- Collaborate on learning objectives and resources for learners
The editor improves writing and handles proofreading. Many people believe that they can edit their own work (this is never true), or that anyone is qualified to edit (rarely true). Editing is where too many administrators skimp, and that’s a mistake. Instead, hire a qualified editor for your team and they’ll make your online learning more engaging and effective.
An editor can be an outside hire, and in rare circumstances, an internal appointee.
Some responsibilities to add to the editor or proofreader job description:
- Understand and follow style guidelines
- Edit or proofread training material in various formats
- Communicate with writers to provide guidance and feedback
A graphic designer overlaps in some ways with an instructional designer, depending on the course. However, the chief output of the graphic designer is images, iconography, animations, the look and feel of the course, and enhanced stock photos to fit project needs.
A graphic designer can be a qualified internal staff member, but make sure they are indeed qualified. Otherwise, use an outside designer.
Some responsibilities to add to the graphic designer job description:
- Research or create imagery for training materials
- Follow style guides and interpret instructions from the team
- Create concepts for educational materials
The media specialist is the team member who produces and edits audio and video for your online learning, and they’re almost certainly an outside consultant.
Some responsibilities to add to the media specialist job description:
- Produce and deliver high-quality audio and video assets
- Manage scripts and video during the production process
- Collaborate closely with content team members to deliver relevant materials
The technical producer is the person in the team who understands techspeak and can assemble all the online learning elements into a running course. This person will create and apply custom CSS, mark up pages with HTML, add interactivity, and provide the technical coding necessary to ensure the course can interface with a learning management system (LMS) if required.
The technical producer is usually from a third party or vendor.
Some responsibilities to add to the technical producer job description:
- Build content in appropriate markup, such as HTML
- Implement materials in the training platform
- Participate in testing phases
The LMS administrator is an essential part of your online learning team. They’re an expert at configuring the learning platform, from enrolling participants to creating online quizzes.
If you host your own platform, this could be an internal staff member, or it can be someone from the managed hosting company (such as Talance) you use.
Some responsibilities to add to the LMS administrator job description:
- Build training content using templates
- Manage and maintain the training platform
- Manage learner registrations, records and reports
A tester is a person in your online learning team who runs quality assurance (QA) checks by testing the course from a technical perspective and ensuring it matches the way the course was planned. Testers usually work off testing plans so they can make sure learners can use each part of the system.
A tester is usually from a third party or vendor, although it’s smart to perform internal testing as well.
Some responsibilities to add to the training tester job description:
- Follow test scripts and use cases to analyze training
- Document issues and re-test errors
- Communicate issues with members of the training team
Facilitators are trainers experienced in both in-person and online instruction who help learners create a cohesive learning community in which they share ideas, apply their knowledge, give feedback, and make reflections on their work.
You can use your existing training team if they have a background in online learning or are willing to train to do so.
Some responsibilities to add to the course facilitator job description:
- Lead courses for learners, answering questions and providing mentorship
- Monitor learner progress and share with training team
- Implement training schedule and gather feedback