E-Learning Production Roles

In an effort to streamline e-learning development, our team at Artisan mapped out the entire e-learning production process and identified, to the minute detail, what roles are needed to create e-learning. Several of the roles listed can (and should) be combined into one person’s tasks, but for the purposes of process mapping we’ve separated everything to the lowest common denominator.

What’s the value in breaking it down to this level?  There are several reasons.

  1. You can free up your high-value team members.  For example, when your best technical expert is building a course, he or she may also be spending hours looking for the right graphic.  Could someone else with a lower skillset help with the graphics research to free up your technical expert to troubleshoot an interaction that isn’t working right?
  2. You can involve people who don’t know the subject matter or who don’t know/have the authoring tool.  For example, when we send off a script to the narrator, someone has to pull the script out of the storyboards and format the document per the instructions of the narration company.  Oftentimes, we’ll have the writer do that.  But in reality, anyone can do that—someone who doesn’t even know anything about the project.
  3. It can reduce costs.  Using the same scenarios, a person qualified to research graphics or reformat a Word document can be someone who doesn’t make as much money as someone who is an instructional designer or technical expert.  And if you can separate out roles that don’t require having a license of the authoring tool, you can save money by buying fewer licenses.
  4. You can find the best person for the job.  Sure, you can have the writer also look for images, but would someone with a more creative eye be better at that job?  Breaking the roles down into more detail can help you find and train each person based on that role’s exact needs.

So here’s what we came up with.  Based on your course design, you may need some or all of these roles, and maybe even a few more.

Leadership 

The roles in this group oversee the project and keep it on track, on budget, and on scope. They also oversee implementation and handle evaluation once the project has been delivered.

  • Account Manager (manages the relationship with the client)
  • Project Manager (manages the schedule, budget, quality, and deliverables)
  • Traffic Manager (helps move items back and forth, such as script to the narrator, then audio files to the developer)
  • LMS Integration Specialist (helps make sure the course works properly in the LMS)

Design

The roles in this group design the course. They create the look and feel that can make or break the project’s success.

  • Concept Designer/Prototype
  • Instructional Design Lead
  • Graphic Designer

Content Development

The roles in this group research the content, share their knowledge, and write and edit the storyboards for the course.

  • Subject-Matter Expert
  • Instructional Designer/Writer
  • Researcher
  • Transcriber (transcribes the recording of an instructor-led program if it is to be used as source material for the e-learning)
  • Storyboard Reviewer
  • Proofreader

Course Development

The roles in this group develop the course from storyboard to online draft.

  • Prototype Developer
  • Developer (uses a rapid development tool)
  • Custom Programmer (helps with special programming requirements outside of the rapid development tool, such as a JavaScript programmer)
  • Audio Timer (adds audio to the course and then synchronizes the on-screen elements to the audio)

Media

The roles in this group create and edit the audio, video, and graphics used in the course. [You can see we had a little fun with a few of the titles].

  • Script Preparer (pulls narration text out of the storyboards and formats it properly per the narrator’s specifications)
  • Narrator
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Video Editor
  • Sound Editor
  • Graphic Swapper-Outer (replaces low-res comp images in the first draft with purchased high-resolution images in the final draft)
  • Picture Knocker-Outer (removes backgrounds from photos)
  • Picture Picker-Outer (researches and finds appropriate images for the course)

Quality Assurance

The roles in this group test the course once it’s developed to make sure everything works as it should.

  • Tester
  • iPad Tester
  • 508 Tester
  • Design Reviewer
  • Course Timer (takes the course to see how long it is)

Customer

The roles in this group, whether internal or external customers, are those who the final files are delivered to.

  • Customer
  • End Customer (If we are a sub-contractor, we may have a customer who also has a customer.) 

What do you think? Are there any additional roles you would suggest need to be included in this list?

Nick Elkins

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