Every industry needs leaders that can take it to new heights. Digital learning is one such industry which has gained importance as well as relevance in the last decade due to the fact that corporate organizations have understood how important learning and development (L&D) of employees is for their growth and success. A leader in digital learning could start their careers from instructional designing, graphic designing, web development or even managing learning and development programs in an organizations. What’s important is that they quickly absorb all their is to know about the L&D industry and use that knowledge to revolutionize the industry. But being a leader in any industry isn’t easy, let alone a niche such as digital learning. There are certain skills and qualities that every digital learning expert looking to make a name in this industry must possess,and in this article we’re going to discuss those.
- Learning Science
While digital learning obviously requires a great deal of expertise in how to make technology work for the learning and development of learners, that’s not all it requires. Digital learning leaders must have an in-depth knowledge in theoretical foundations and methodological practices of instructional design and educator development. In fact, that is where any individual hoping to be a leader in digital learning should start from. Knowing the basics can help digital learning experts better integrate technology with learning methodologies of the past and the present, as well as develop learning methodologies for the future. A degree in learning sciences and technology (LST) is something every digital learning leader should possess both to increase their knowledge as well as to help with their career progress.
- The Theory Of Technology
The use of technology in learning and development isn’t something new. Technology has been an integral part of learning ever since the printing press was invented, and videos are being used to change behaviours and inculcate knowledge in the masses since decades. Digital learning is not all about knowing the ins-and-outs of the latest learning management system (LMS), or using mobile learning to deliver courses and module directly to the learner’s smartphones. It is about understanding the theory of technology, its history with the learning and development industry, as well as the history of human beings with technology. Technology is a broad subject, and digital learning leaders must not restrict themselves to just knowing about areas where technology and learning conjoin, but technology as a whole. Doing this will help them make better decisions regarding the use of technology in learning in the future.
- Corporate Training
Although digital learning is also being used in academics and higher education, the industry utilizing it as an inextricable part of their operations is the corporate training industry. For digital learning leaders who wish to revolutionize the field of corporate learning/training, a thorough knowledge of the context, structure, economics and history of corporate training is critical. Understanding how digital learning as a mode of employee training and development fits into the ecosystem of corporate organizations grants a digital learning expert an added expertise on how to create, run, manage and sustain learning and development programs in a corporate organization. Being a leader in the industry requires a person to be full of ideas; ideas that no one else is having. Generating such ideas requires the leader to have as much knowledge of the related fields as possible.
- Leadership Skills
Finally, leadership is a skill made up of smaller skills such as honesty, integrity, confidence, commitment, passion, the ability to inspire others as well as themselves, great communication, decision-making capability, accountability, delegation, the ability to empower others, empathy, creativity and innovation among others. A leader in any industry, including digital learning has to have all of these skills. Some are born with them, others inculcate them along their journey, but either way, it requires a lot of effort to become a leader. To be a leader, you don’t need to hold a high office or post, but can start leading change from where you are now. If you inspire enough people to change for the better, for better innovation and growth, you’ll be counted as a leader in the field.
Digital learning professionals looking to be leaders in this industry must inculcate the above-mentioned skills, qualities and competencies in themselves. Once they do that they’ll be able to find opportunities to lead change in their organization as well as in the digital learning industry instantly.