Sunday, December 8, 2013

Getting Started in eLearning

I think like most people in our field, I am often asked how to get started in eLearning. Well, the eLearning Industry site has released "How to Become an eLearning Professional," an ebook of tips for people interested in getting started. It has practical advice from 23 leaders in the field. It will definitely be a resource I share with people interested in entering our field.

While we're on the subject, I will add that anyone getting started in elearning need to be prepared to invest the time to acquire the competencies needed. There are many misconceptions about our field that mislead people in believing they can start by simply acquiring the "right" development tools and jumping right into making courses. As anyone working in the field will probably agree, it is not as simple as mastering the development tools. It also involves becoming competent in elearning design. Without a focus on design, and I have seen this many times, one will just spin their wheels (e.g., develop courses that do not provide effective instruction, do not address the audience's learning needs, etc.).

If you are interested in elearning, do not look first to the development tools, but rather how to DESIGN learning. Here is a list of ISD graduate programs, which I believe are worth the investment. I know not everyone is interested in the graduate school route and in that case you may look to certificate programs or workshops whether at an academic institution or through groups like ASTD or the eLearning Guild.

Reading elearning blogs is also a good way to learning more about elearning and finding additional useful resources for getting started. Plus, blogs often provide opportunities to pick the brains of many knowledgeable practitioners. eLearningLearning is a good place to find such blogs. Following elearning designers on Twitter is another good way to expand your personal learning network (PLN). 

Good luck and don't forget to check out the "How to Become an eLearning Professionalebook.

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