The eLearning Professional

You don’t become a professional by just calling yourself one. One key difference between professionals and non-professionals is this: professionals are bound by ethical codes. 

So, what’s the professional code of eLearning?

Stated simply, “Do no harm to Learners.” Those five words are packed with a truck-load of meaning. I’d like to highlight three critical pillars of “doing no harm” in an eLearning context.

Solutions Oriented: Doing no harm means the instructional designer (ID) is responsible to help the subject matter expert achieve their goals for their students by directing them to the best solutions—even if those solutions are different than the ones requested. 

Learner First: It also means the ID has a responsibility to fellow professionals to enhance our reputation as trusted consultants. As skilled practitioners, we can be relied on to put the interest of the learner first while meeting the needs of the content expert. 

Constantly Growing: Finally, ID do no harm through being an academic who reflects upon and keeps up-to-date with current best practice, evidence-based learning theory and the latest technologies with potential to enhance learning. 

What’s Your Biggest eLearning Challenge?

Over the years, eLearning has shifted, shifted, and shifted again. And it will shift again in the future. The pace of change challenges us to stay current. A new method, new technology, new study, or new concern are constantly popping up. 

A recent survey conducted by Shift eLearning asked hundreds of eLearning professionals about the challenges they’re preoccupied with and what causes the most concern with their job. Shift eLearning shared over 50 unique responses.

Based on the three pillars of “doing no harm,” I was able to identify the following themes I feel best encapsulate the challenges eLearning professionals struggle with in their commitment to the code of ethics.  

  1. Solutions Oriented:
    1. Getting stakeholders to understand the importance of the design process and commit to it.
    2. Having the time and resources to design innovative courses 
  2. Learner First:
    1. Meeting the needs of diverse learners 
    2. Work with challenging content to build engaging learning environments
  3. Constantly Growing:
    1. Keeping current with emerging eLearning technologies and comprehend how to best use these technologies to help all students learn
    2. Developing the needed expertise of good digital design 

I highly recommend reading the full list of eLearning professional concerns. As you do, you’ll hopefully began to get an understanding of dedication it takes from the professionals of eLearning to honor this code of doing no harm to the learner. 

How many of these 50 challenges did you identify with? Do you have additional ones to add? Let us know. 


SH!FT. (2019, June 25). What are some of the biggest  challenges eLearning professionals face?

Author: Gary Tucker, Executive Director of eLearning

An early adopter in online education, Gary helped develop and deliver one of the first fully online Masters degrees in Educational Technology. Still an early adopter, he now depends on the expertise of his dynamic eLearning team. When off-the-clock, he reads and rides his bicycle.

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