eLearning specialists work for universities and companies overseeing online education systems. For example, they might customize eLearning software for a university's online correspondence courses or tools for teachers to provide additional instruction outside of class. Some industries need to educate their employees about changes in the company or field from time to time and an eLearning specialist can help them provide this instruction easily online.
eLearning specialists need experience in both computer design and management software as well as education techniques. A specialist evaluates and maintains or re-designs learning management systems, making them accessible, flexible and straightforward for users. This role does not often include creating software, but the specialist will customize and author lessons using existing learning management software such as Adobe's eLearning solutions or Articulate. eLearning specialists commonly start their career by receiving a bachelor's degree in either education or software management.
An eLearning specialist needs experience in customizing software and should know how to recognize potential trouble spots that might make a program difficult for a novice, a specialty called instructional design. A successful eLearning specialist has dual skills in software management and education techniques. The specialist needs to understand how to engage students on the Internet by providing eLearning modules which are relevant to the potential students' age and skill level, for example, by providing learning games for elementary students.
The day-to-day work of an eLearning specialist requires understanding the learning results desired and turning this information into engaging online content with a user-friendly interface. The specialist meets with teachers and professionals to discuss the learning formats and testing that should be built into a program. eLearning specialists may also seek out textbook publishers to get permission to link any online content that they provide.
Salary and Outlook
The online learning field is growing with some of the most exciting developments being in real-time collaboration between students or student and teacher. For younger students, interactive educational games are entering the classroom, creating more opportunities for an eLearning specialist. The field is expected to grow about by 15 percent through 2020, or about the average for all jobs in the U.S. The median annual salary for training and development managers was $89,170 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. People with specialty customization and programming skills who are employed by large corporations can expect to be in the higher end of the income bracket once they gain on-the-job experience.
2016 Salary Information for Training and Development Managers
Training and development managers earned a median annual salary of $105,830 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, training and development managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $78,050, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $139,260, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 34,500 people were employed in the U.S. as training and development managers.