/Why Learning JavaScript Is Important For Digital Learning Designers

Why Learning JavaScript Is Important For Digital Learning Designers

Instructional design or digital learning design as it is now being called is by no means an easy job to do. Although rapid authoring tools have made this task somewhat easier, creating engaging, interactive courseware that helps employees and learners learn still requires skill, knowledge, creativity and a great deal of design thinking. However, if you really want to be a leader in digital learning design, you cannot just skim through its basics and start creating courses. Unfortunately, there is an alarming number of digital learning designers that do not have an ultra-important skill required to create top-tier digital learning. I’m talking about JavaScript.


JavaScript, to put it in simple terms, is a programming language that enables the creation of dynamic content in web content as well as digital learning. Now, you might be thinking “I came all this way without ever having used JavaScript, so is it really that important?” And the answer is – yes. Although there are rapid eLearning tools that do a great job at developing learning with little to no coding necessary, they cannot, unfortunately compete with digital learning created using JavaScript. The age of slide-based learning is over. In this article, we’ll discuss what JavaScript can do for you, if and when you decide to learn it, but before that let us discuss the limitations of digital learning created using just rapid authoring tools without JavaScript.

Limitations Of Not Learning JavaScript

  1. Rapid Development tools cannot accommodate for individual needs and cannot be used to help learners who are having difficulties with learning, which in short, means that you cannot created personalized learning (without considerable effort) which is very important in this day and age.


  1. Digital learning designers are limited to the “presets” that their rapid development tools provides them, the same themes, interactions, menus etc., which means that they will sooner or later run out of combinations and options.


  1. There is no way around learning to code, and as more and more designers learn to code as a result of the advancing computing age, a person who doesn’t learn to code is limiting their career potential, and will sooner or later hit a dead-end.


Now, let us have a look at the benefits of learning JavaScript for digital learning designers.

Benefits Of Learning JavaScript For Digital Learning Designers

  1. The first and foremost benefit of learning JavaScript is that designers get a better understanding of triggers and variables in digital learning authoring tools. Popular authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and Lectora all use programming which is not visible nor comprehensible to you as you only use their presets. When you know JavaScript, you can modify and create interactions of your own.


  1. Every designer has encountered problems with their digital learning course one time or the other. Sometimes its an interaction not working correctly, and sometimes an error you don’t understand and sometimes something else. By learning JavaScript you’ll learn to break apart the elements of a digital learning course and thus learn how to debug any problems you might be facing.


  1. Another great thing about learning JavaScript is how it augments your capability as a digital learning designer. You don’t need to bring in developers from the outside, can create your own animations, interactions, themes, certificates and whatnot, and use your standard authoring tools in ways you didn’t know were possible. This increases your value as a digital learning designer and improves employment opportunities.


  1. Another benefit of learning JavaScript is the fact that you can use the thousands of JavaScript libraries on the internet and add elements into your digital learning courses, some of which no authoring tool provides, for example, connecting your course to xAPI to store and retrieve records about learners and share these data across platforms, creating draggable animations and objects, and creating parallax effects in your course to name a few.


To cap it all, if you want to keep working as a digital learning designer for the next decade (and hopefully the decade after that), you’ll future-proof your career and usher yourself in a world of digital learning you were oblivious to until now by learning JavaScript.