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?



  • This article is a positive reminder of the job market that awaits MATD students. As businesses look for cost effective and convenient ways to train employees with increasingly tight budgets, e-learning is logical solution. Hiring the right talent to create and support eLearning programs ultimately nets the company a positive return on investment because eLearning brings affordability and scalability to training programs, and it is a convenient delivery method with few barriers for participation and attendance. eLearning programs offer flexibility to attendees and ultimately tap into their own motivation to improve and advance within their jobs. As others have shared, this is not a trend but a new way of training and as such, graduates of program like Roosevelt’s MATD program are the cost-effective and efficient answer to businesses’ to talent and skill development in their organization.

  • Michael A. Sullivan

    I learned that E-Learning is never going away. I think that one thing that educators need to keep in mind is engaging the audience with E-Learning. I have used a variety of e-learning tools and the biggest challenge I find is how the designer includes information, this skill cap shows the lack of diversity. I look forward to seeing how companies address this problem and most importantly how they will engage members in that training.

  • I like the idea of e-learning becoming an industry all by itself. With the rapid change in technology, the needs of physical classrooms become less attractive. I go to school completely online, and I probably wouldn’t have the time to attend classes in a classroom based on my work schedule. It’s nice to see the job market is taking off for the developers and teachers as well.

  • While I am delighted to learn that e-learning skills are in high demand, I was very surprised to learn that many companies are having difficulty offering e-learning due to lack of skills within their organizations. Given the experience I have gained in the MATD program I know that I have increased my value to my company, but have not observed any lack of e-learning experience in my work environment. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

    With a global work population in an extremely fast moving and competitive environment we must deliver training for the preponderance of our soft and hard skills via e learning. As well, my company encourages us to use cutting-edge tools and has specialists within our organization to continually evaluate the market to identify what can take our e-learning to the next level. I am very fortunate, and frankly, did not know the uniqueness of my environment!

    I have really enjoyed – and been challenged by – my MATD program from which I will graduate in December. I cannot help, however, to be re-energized by the fact that not only have I had the opportunity to apply the learning and skills in my current environment but that I gained a high-in-demand new skill that could present additional opportunities in the future.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to the high value of what our Roosevelt program has had to offer.

  • In my experience, I have seen a similar gap. Many resources that were dedicated to training and development are generalists and e-learning design and delivery are considered specialized skills. When needed, there are resources contracted to design e-learning or update existing courses. I think it’s great that this article points out the demand for this specialized focus. Students can use this information to decide if they’d like to include e-learning in their specialized skill set, which may be attractive to lots of employers.

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