4 Job Skills to Study This Summer for eLearning Professionals
With a seemingly infinite number of courses available online and on demand, how do you know which job skills will make your application stronger?
As an eLearning professional, you have to keep up with many rapidly evolving industries – learning science, technology, marketing, user engagement, UI/UX design, multimedia development, and, even, management, communication, and collaboration approaches. Fortunately, you’re the kind of person who enjoys learning. With a seemingly infinite number of skills to brush up on and courses available, how do you know which skills to invest in?
Just knowing where to start can help you stand out and accelerate your career. So, we’ve identified four skill areas worth leaning into this summer. Whether you’re an instructional designer, content writer, learning technologist, manager, or one of the many other types of professionals in our field, these skills will help improve your performance. And if you’re searching for your dream job, they will make you an even stronger candidate.
The 4 Skill Areas That Are In Demand
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI is on fire and there’s a good reason for it. Artificial Intelligence and its natural language processing tools are going to fundamentally accelerate and change how learning occurs and is designed. In addition, it will impact the types of careers and lives people will need to prepare for.
From a learning perspective, AI can be used to personalize learning experiences, provide a deeper picture of learner’s progress and gaps, create more engaging content, and automate certain aspects of instruction. By learning about AI, instructional designers and learning professionals can develop a better understanding of how to use these tools to enhance the learning process.
Start getting informed now by reading articles, listening to podcasts, watching videos, and most importantly experimenting with ChatGPT.
Topics to focus on include:
- Machine learning
- Natural language processing
- Computer vision
- Recommender systems
- Ethics and bias
- AI applications in learning and technology
- AI applications in the instructional design process
2. Innovation Skills
When you’re working in a rapidly evolving, digitally-enhanced world, innovation skills are essential. Whether your goal is to provide better learning opportunities, scale your digital learning programs, or simply keep up with learner needs and preferences, innovation can help you succeed.
How do you work on something as conceptional as innovation? By focusing on what innovation can do. It helps you problem solve, think strategically, and design better products and processes. Any course that builds creativity, design thinking, or problem-solving abilities may also help you build innovation skills.
Topics to focus on include:
- Design thinking
- Problem solving
- Strategic and process thinking
- Innovation in a digital world
- Innovation management
- Learning experience design
- Change management
3. Management & Leadership Skills
More than anything else on this list, management and leadership are not a single skill, but a group of interrelated abilities all focused on the same goal. Adding management and leadership skills to your resume instantly improves your chances of getting promoted or landing a new role.
And remember, you don’t have to be a manager to be a leader. Every team member can guide, influence, and support others within the organization. Management and leadership skills can help you lend your expertise to a team, guide students to success, or make sure your own projects are completed effectively.
Topics to focus on include:
- Effective Communication
- Project Management Methodologies
- Strategic Thinking
- Managing a Remote Team
- Team Building and Feedback
4. Visual Design
Visual design skills and knowledge of best practices are essential for eLearning professionals and instructional designers. The visuals will often either make or break the learning experience and more than ever a branded, consistent experience is essential. Visual design skills enable designers to effectively convey complex concepts, simplify information, and enhance learner engagement. These skills can also help eLearning professionals create more visually appealing and effective assessments, interactive activities, and multimedia content. With the growing importance of online learning, having strong visual design abilities is becoming increasingly valuable in our industry.
Topics and tools to focus on include:
- Color theory, typography, graphics, and layout design
- Design software – Canva, Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, Figma, etc
- Visual storytelling
Where To Find Professional Experiences That Build Job Skills
As an eLearning or learning and development professional, you probably know that there’s a whole universe of learning opportunities out there. You can take a one-day seminar or invest in a 4-year degree in management and leadership. Narrowing down your options can be a challenge.
What to Consider
There are a few main areas to consider when deciding how to continue your professional development.
- How much time do you have?
- What, specifically, do you want to learn?
- Do you need a certificate or skills badge?
- What’s your budget? And will your employer contribute?
With the answers to those questions in mind, you can seek out courses that meet your unique needs. Here are a few places you might want to start looking for courses to build your job skills.
Where to find skill building experiences at different budgets and credentialing levels
Informal (no or limited cost)
It’s important to not discount the value of free and informal sources for continuing professional development. While these may seem like more traditional “edutainment” options, they provide a great start to becoming more informed and then deciding which credentials to pursue.
Online Learning (limited cost)
Every day more and more courses are added to the universe of options. Below are a few options to consider for finding courses that meet your needs.
- LinkedIn Learning (unlimited courses, monthly fee)
- Skillshare (monthly and annual membership plans)
- Coursera (some free courses, may pay for certificates)
- MIT’s Open CourseWare (free, no certificates issued)
- Udemy (pricing varies, many promos)
Associations and Events (Some cost)
Your professional associations and events are a fantastic place to not only learn about what’s most important in your industry, but also a place to make valuable connections. Below is a very incomplete list of associations, as you’ll likely already have a list of your favorites and their associated events.
Traditional Universities (Highest cost)
While there continues to be debate about the value of college degrees, there’s no denying that if you are seeking to transition into a new field or are seeking to accelerate your career – a formal degree or certification from an accredited college or university is an invaluable resource. And there are more options than ever via online degree programs. Look for programs that uniquely fit your goals, have reputational cache, and are cost and time effective.
How To Use Your Job Skills
Taking a class to build job skills may make you a more qualified candidate, but it’s up to you to communicate your new abilities to employers. After you take the class, make sure you:
- Update the education and skills sections of your resume
- Add the skill and certificate to your LinkedIn profile
- Consider whether this new job skill can help support your request for a raise
- Think about how you’ll answer common interview questions related to this skill
For help communicating your skills to employers or finding candidates with essential skills, partner with Teamed. We connect qualified candidates with forward-thinking employers in the digital learning industry. Contact us today to find your best fit.