Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see the creation of an e-learning or digital team within larger organisations. Online learning and training has grown in popularity in nearly all industries—leading individual subject matter experts to team up and create their own courses. With growing recruitment into e-learning teams, you may find yourself in the position to form your own dream team for an online learning program.
While your own motivation will drive you in the right direction, you may need some good, dependable help. It’s no easy feat to bring the right people together, but you can halve the journey just by knowing who to look for.
This article introduces the key players that you will need in your online learning team. Note that you may change this structure or delegate roles according to the scope of a given project.
This person is the master planner and facilitator. They act as emissary and mediator for team members and stakeholders. They manage everything from schedules and budgets to scope and quality assurance. They also help you delegate tasks among the team members and organise training. They keep everyone and everything on track and focused on the common goal, inspired and with high morale.
This person is also known as the team leader or program coordinator. It’s an indispensable role in projects that involve multiple departments and deadlines, and complex simultaneous processes.
Subject matter expert (SME)
The SME is the curator of your course materials because they know the subject better than anyone. They can be a lecturer from a university, a trainer you hire from a training company, or even a member of your staff. Their experience of, and insights on, the subject matter form the backbone of your effective online courses. You can engage SMEs from various fields for each course.
The SME works closely with the learning designer to structure the content of your courses. You’ll always need this person when you design a course. You can also consider involving them when discussing assessments and learning outcomes.
Instructional designer or learning designer
The instructional or learning designer decides how your course is best presented to learners. They use their knowledge of learning design principles, theories, and models to scrutinise gaps in the curricula to ensure that learning objectives are met. They also consult on the suitability of your organisation’s learning management systems.
Instructional designers can teach you about e-learning authoring tools, which are the software that you can use to create high-quality course content. We recommend hiring those who are equipped with the skills listed in 5 Essential Skills for Your Instructional Design Job.
Trust their expertise in setting and achieving the intended aims of a course. This is called constructive alignment and it makes a significant difference for workplace training, employee onboarding, skills training, and professional development.
Apart from these three crucial roles, there are three more that you may choose to include in your e-learning team.
The graphic designer takes care of your brand’s profile and user’s experience. They know best how to visually present your organisation to the world via logo design and marketing collateral. They know how user interfaces, interactive features, animations, graphs, colours, shapes, and fonts work. They can also be the go-to people for video production and photography. Because the learner’s course experience is substantially conveyed in user-friendly aesthetics, the graphic designer is indispensable.
If your subject matter is complex and difficult to process, this professional is the answer. They can apply design principles via various media to reduce cognitive load and optimise the delivery of course materials.
💡 Tip: You can delegate these duties to an instructional or learning designer if they have the skills, with the understanding that they are suitably remunerated for it.
The facilitator is the key in transitioning learning culture from spoon-feeding to something that is more fulfilling for the learner. They help learners by facilitating their “experience” of the content via learning tools. Learners can better understand and apply what they’ve learned because they have engaged with the material in enriching ways. A facilitator is especially important in online courses because they keep interaction alive.
The facilitator is the bridge between the course and the learner. Without them, the learner would have difficulty in navigating through and getting the most out of a course.
Teachers and SMEs can be part of your facilitation team, or you may choose to hire external facilitators on a per-week basis. Find out how you and your team can become great online course facilitators.
The QA tester is the buffer between the user and unsavoury bugs, typos, navigation errors, and such impediments. These checks are done with the aim of fine-tuning the software before it achieves its final state of user-worthiness.
QA testers should consist of a member of each department as they’re the best judges of their domain. After all, the fresher the pair of eyes, the better it is to minimise oversight. This review process can be tedious but it’s absolutely necessary.
Even after a course has been released, it will be constantly updated. Each time a change is made in the syllabus, the QA tester ensures that it’s good to go. Feel free to use our pre-flight checklist for your quality assurance testing.
We wish you a lot of fun and fulfilment in your search. Keep in mind that your dream team may always be a work-in-progress, as life, people, and team dynamics change all the time. Continuously build up your dream team with people who share your vision and work ethics.
Found your dream team, but now in search of a platform for your online learning project? Consider starting a free trial of the OpenLearning course authoring platform and marketplace: