Monday, October 10, 2011

Student Finds eLearning Design Opportunities

The education industry is rapidly changing as a result of new technology. The Internet, social media and other online tools eliminate barriers that once existed in a traditional classroom setting.

"Learning is no longer about sitting in a quiet room with a book in your hand. You can take a course anywhere," says Janet Lamar, recent Rio Salado student.

Lamar holds a master's degree in educational leadership and recently received a certificate of completion in eLearning Design from Rio Salado College. She recently started a job as an instructional designer and content writer for an online executive-education program in Pennsylvania.

"Rio Salado prepared me to work by providing me with a model of what I would eventually be doing,"
Lamar said. "I was completely confident that I could walk in the door and immediately apply what I had learned to my new position."

For students interested in a career in education, Rio Salado's eLearning Design program is an excellent way to discover new opportunities in the industry.

Jennifer Freed, faculty chair of eLearning Design at Rio Salado said, "The program is designed to aid students in achieving their professional goals in both corporate training and academia."

Students in eLearning Design develop the knowledge and skills to custom design and deliver instructional programs and products such as courses, curricula, training documentation, multimedia presentations and simulations. Practitioners of all ages and educational backgrounds can find a place in this budding industry.

The field of instructional design is growing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. O*net online, a website created by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, provides detailed career information to the public and lists the field of instructional design as a career with a bright outlook. According to the site, practitioners of instructional design earn an annual median of $58,780.

Companies in various industries and academic institutions of all types are looking to employ individuals with training in eLearning Design. Since a great deal of the work is done on the internet, many positions even give employees the ability to work from home.

Lamar was amazed by the number of opportunities in the field.

"This industry is absolutely exploding," she said. "This is the first time in the technology era that these devices are going to drive the learning rather than the other way around. Technology has changed everything and even professions are now at our fingertips."

The 3-year-old eLearning Design program was designed after a series of focus groups consisting of both business and education administrators met to discuss the needs in the industry. The groups provided specific details about what skills an ideal job candidate would possess and as a result, many of those administrators are now offering internships to students who are completing the program through Rio Salado.

Freed says that the main thing students who are interested in the program should remember is "don't be afraid of technology." With that technology, the future of education has arrived.