The Learning Circuits Blog big question of the month for September is “Where to work?” (PS I don’t know why I can’t get a straight URL just to the question.) It’s kind of a tough question, really. For whom? When?
When I look at the broad categories of who works in eLearning, first there’s a breakdown between ‘education’ and ‘the real world’, the latter of which roughly breaks down into corporate, government, and not-for-profit. The reason I separate out education is that there elearning is much more about education, not training. The others reverse. My definition of the distinction is a continuum from performance in very specific contexts (training) to broad applicability (education). Increasingly, we’re seeing pushes down on education, and up on training, however.
And we need to recognize that in many instances, we’re talking about a broader picture, where the a second dimension is performance support versus full instruction.
To be honest, though, it doesn’t so much matter where you work as what you do, who you work with, etc. The main thing is to align your job description with what you want to do: if you want to tinker with code and systems, be a develop, not a designer. If you want to figure out who should learn what, do curriculum development, if you want to create content, be a designer, etc. If you want to do a bit of each, work in a small organization.
Then choose based upon manager, company culture, location, and all the rest. Realize that you’ll never get the perfect fit, it’s all about tradeoffs. So know what’s important to you, and maximize your priorities. But that’s basic job counseling.
Of course, you have to be realistic with your strengths and styles too. Interestingly, a friend who has been doing counseling was interested in something new that involved teamwork and computers but not really software engineering. I thought elearning was a viable suggestion (though I did caveat with my ‘bias’). I do believe that understanding people, technology, and business (whether from interface design, learning design, or business intelligence perspective) is a valuable skill set going forward!