Bridging the E-Learning Skill Gap
A new research report by ATD titled: Next Generation E-Learning: Skills and Strategies, reveals a significant gap in the expansion of E-Learning and the cause of the gap is surprising. Although a whopping 9 out of 10 of the 526 organizations surveyed said they offer some E-Learning to their workers, with organizations categorized as “high-performance” delivering the largest portion of their training electronically, most organizations would like to expand their portfolio, but can’t. This time, E-Learning expansion is not limited by technology, acceptance, or perceived value, as in the past, but the main reason organizations were unable to expand E-Learning is because they do not have the talent to design and deliver courseware. Specifically, their workplace learning staff lacked:
- general e-learning design skills
- knowledge of available e-learning tools and applications
- specific design tools or software
- overall instructional design knowledge or skills
Most organizations are unable to train their T & D staff in these areas, making those who possess this skill set very desirable in the job market. A quick search of Indeed using the term “E-Learning” in Chicago yielded over 300 jobs, most full-time.
The Graduate Program in Training & Development at Roosevelt University addresses the critical skills barrier revealed in the research by preparing our students for careers in talent development, with a strong emphasis on E-Learning. From their very first course, students receive general knowledge of E-Learning tools and applications, fine-tuning this in our Training Technology course. Later, our students complete two courses in instructional design and an additional two courses in E-Learning where they use widely accepted design tools and software to create their delivery.
When they graduate, many of our students work as instructional designers, virtual trainers, or consultants in E-Learning. Those who prefer a more general career path still benefit from their background in technology as it enables them to manage and lead others who perform these skills. In particular, for students who are seeking a career change to enter the field of training, the skills they develop in our E-Learning courses can make the transition to the new field faster and more lucrative.
Although the field of training and development continues to evolve, one aspect that is critical to its future is technology and E-Learning. We believe that our curriculum, with its emphasis on technology, is contributing to the success of our graduates by developing critical and necessary skills for the next generation workforce.
Questions for Discussion
What are your thoughts on the E-learning skills gap? Do you see this in your organization?