Working in Further Education

How to Become an E-Learning Designer: Tips for Starting and Advancing Your Career

March 1, 2023

Table of Contents

E-learning design is a rapidly growing field that offers job opportunities across industries. As businesses and organisations shift toward remote work and online training, the demand is rising.

However, knowing where to start and how to advance your career in this field can be challenging. With so many different skills, tools, and techniques involved in e-learning design, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to focus on and how to stand out. That's why we've put together these actionable tips to help you get started and build a successful career in e-learning design. Whether you're just starting or looking to take your skills to the next level, these tips can help you achieve your goals and advance in this exciting field.

Bolt Jobs advertises a range of jobs for E-Learning Designers, E-Learning Coordinators, and E-Learning Developers. Click on the links to find out more.

How to Become an E-Learning Designer

1. Gain Education and Training

To become an e-learning designer, having a solid foundation in instructional design, and e-learning development is essential. Here are some actionable steps you can take to build your skills:

Pursue a degree in instructional design or a related field

Many e-learning design roles require a bachelor's or master's degree in instructional design, education, or a related field. Look for programs that provide a comprehensive education in instructional design principles and technology tools and applications. Some programs also offer specialised courses in e-learning design and development.

Take courses in e-learning authoring tools and software

To create compelling e-learning experiences, you must be familiar with e-learning authoring tools and software. Some popular tools include Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Lectora Inspire. Look for online courses, tutorials, and workshops that teach you how to use these tools effectively and efficiently.

Gain experience by creating e-learning projects

To build your portfolio and gain hands-on experience, consider creating e-learning projects independently. You can make simple projects using free tools like Google Slides or PowerPoint, or you can work on more complex projects using authoring tools like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate. Find collaboration opportunities by joining online communities or participating in e-learning design challenges.

Keep learning and stay up-to-date

The field of e-learning design is constantly evolving. Experiment with new tools and techniques to keep your skills fresh and relevant. Read industry blogs, books, and publications to stay informed about emerging trends and technologies. Attend conferences, webinars, and workshops to learn from industry experts and connect with other e-learning designers.

2. Build a Portfolio

Creating a portfolio of your e-learning design work is essential to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers. Here are some tips to help you create a portfolio that stands out:

Choose a variety of projects

Your portfolio should include a variety of projects that showcase your creativity and versatility as an e-learning designer. Include projects demonstrating your ability to design different types of e-learning experiences, such as:

  • Simulations
  • Interactive modules
  • Video-based learning

You may also include projects demonstrating your ability to work with varying types of content, such as technical, scientific, or soft skills training.

Highlight your design process

In addition to showcasing the finished product, your portfolio should highlight your design process. This can include sketches, wireframes, storyboards, and other design artefacts that show how you approached the design challenge and arrived at the final product. Including this information can help potential employers understand your design thinking and decision-making process.

Provide context and explain your design choices

When presenting your projects in your portfolio, provide context and explain your design choices. This can help potential employers understand the problem you were trying to solve and how your design solution addresses that problem. Also, explain how you incorporated instructional design principles, such as adult learning theory, into your design.

Use a variety of formats

Your portfolio can include a variety of formats, such as PDFs, videos, or web pages. Choose a design that best showcases your work and is easy to navigate. Make sure that your portfolio is visually appealing and easy to read.

Keep your portfolio up-to-date

As you gain more experience and create new projects, update your portfolio regularly. Make sure that your portfolio reflects your most current and relevant work.

3. Network with Professionals

Networking with professionals in the e-learning design field is essential to finding job opportunities and staying current with industry trends. Here are some tips to help you build your network:

Join industry associations

Joining industry associations such as the eLearning Guild, ATD, or ISTE can provide you with access to industry events, webinars, and networking opportunities. These organisations offer resources such as job postings, certification programs, and online communities where you can connect with other professionals in the field.

Attend conferences and events

Attending conferences and events is a great way to meet other e-learning designers, learn about industry trends, and gain new skills. Look for conferences and events in your area or attend virtual conferences to expand your network.

Participate in online forums and groups

Participating in online forums and groups is a great way to connect with other e-learning designers, ask questions, and share your work. Look for LinkedIn, Facebook, or Reddit groups focusing on e-learning design, instructional design, or related topics.

Connect with e-learning designers on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an excellent tool for networking with other professionals in the e-learning design field. Connect with other e-learning designers, instructional designers, and professionals in related fields to expand your network. Be sure to personalise your connection requests and engage with your connections by commenting on their posts and sharing industry news and articles.

Seek out mentorship

Finding a mentor in the e-learning design field can be invaluable in helping you grow your skills and navigate your career. Look for experienced professionals who are willing to offer guidance and advice. Consider contacting professionals in your network or attending mentorship events provided by industry associations.

4. Search for Job Opportunities

One of the most crucial aspects of becoming an e-learning designer is finding relevant job opportunities. There are several ways to go about it, such as:

Job Boards

Look for job opportunities on job boards like Bolt Jobs and other niche job boards specific to the e-learning industry.

Company Websites

Check out companies' career pages that interest you and apply to any relevant positions. If there aren't any job postings, sign up for their job alerts or email newsletters to stay informed about future openings.

Freelance Websites

Sign up for freelance websites such as Upwork or Freelancer to find contract work. Be sure to create a detailed profile that showcases your skills and experience and apply it to relevant projects as they become available.


When networking with other professionals in the industry, look for job opportunities too. Attend conferences and events to meet potential employers and reach out to professionals in the industry on LinkedIn or other networking platforms.

Direct Inquiries

If there's a company you're interested in working for, reach out to them directly and inquire about job opportunities. You can send your CV and portfolio and express your interest in working for them. Even if they don't have any current openings, they may keep your information on file for future opportunities.

5. Stay Up to Date with Industry Trends

As the e-learning design industry rapidly evolves, staying current with the latest technologies, methodologies, and trends is essential. Staying up-to-date ensures that you remain competitive and relevant as an e-learning designer.

This section provides actionable advice on how to stay informed about industry trends, including subscribing to industry publications and blogs, attending conferences and events, and participating in online communities.

Industry Publications

Subscribe to industry publications and blogs to stay informed about the latest trends and technologies in e-learning design. Some popular publications include eLearning Industry and Learning Solutions.

Conferences and Events

As mentioned earlier, attend conferences and events related to e-learning design to network with other professionals and learn about new developments in the field. Some popular events include Learning Technologies, and the CIPD Festival of Work.

Continuing Education

Take courses or workshops to continue learning and stay up-to-date with new developments in the field. Many online courses and certifications cover instructional design, e-learning development, and emerging technologies.

Experiment with New Technologies

Experiment with new e-learning authoring tools and software to stay current with the latest industry trends. This will also help you develop new skills and techniques to enhance your portfolio and make you a more valuable candidate for potential employers.

6. Build a Reputation as a Thought Leader

As an e-learning designer, you have valuable insights and perspectives to share with the industry. By becoming a thought leader, you can establish yourself as an expert and influence the direction of the field. This section will explore actionable ways to build your reputation as a thought leader in e-learning design.

Start a blog or contribute to industry blogs

Share your thoughts and insights on e-learning design trends, strategies, and technologies. This can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry and attract more attention to your work.

Engage with the e-learning design community on social media

Share your work and thoughts on industry topics on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Follow and interact with other e-learning designers and thought leaders to build your network and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and news.

Participate in industry events

Attend conferences, webinars, or workshops to showcase your work and learn from other experts in the field. You can also participate as a speaker or presenter, sharing your knowledge and insights with others in the industry.

Collaborate with other e-learning designers

Build relationships with other professionals in the field by collaborating on projects or contributing to shared initiatives. This can help you expand your network, learn new skills, and build your reputation as a thought leader in e-learning design.

Resources to Help When Looking for Jobs

If you've found this article useful, you may also wish to delve deeper into the ever-evolving field of e-learning. Below are some resources that can further inform and guide you:

  1. E-Learning Design Trends to Watch: Innovations and Insights: Stay updated on the latest trends and innovations shaping the world of e-learning design.
  2. E-Learning Coordinator CV with Example: Tailor your CV for e-learning roles with this helpful guide, complete with a sample CV.
  3. E-Learning Interview Questions and Answers: Prepare for interviews in the e-learning sector by reviewing these common questions and how to answer them.
  4. E-Learning Developer Jobs : Browse through the latest job opportunities for e-learning developers.
  5. E-Learning Designer Jobs: Find current openings tailored for e-learning designers to advance your career.
  6. E-Learning Coordinator: If coordinating e-learning programmes is your interest, check out these latest job listings.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, e-learning design is a rapidly growing field that offers a variety of career opportunities. Whether you're just starting or looking to advance your career, pursuing a degree in instructional design or a related field, developing a solid portfolio, networking with other professionals, and staying up-to-date with industry trends can help you achieve your goals in this dynamic, rewarding field.


To wrap up, here is a list of quick FAQs that you might find helpful:

How much do e-learning designers earn?

E-learning designers typically early between £30 to £40,000 per year. You can see our live database of salary ranges in the FE, skills and learning sectors here.

What kinds of jobs are available for e-learning designers?

E-learning designers can work in various industries, including corporate training, education, healthcare, and government. Job titles include instructional designer, e-learning developer, multimedia designer, or training specialist.

What kind of education do I need to become an e-learning designer?

While a degree in instructional design or a related field can be beneficial, it's only sometimes required. Some employers may value experience and a strong portfolio more than a formal degree. However, taking courses in e-learning authoring tools and software is highly recommended.

What kind of software do e-learning designers use?

E-learning designers typically use e-learning authoring tools and software, such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, or Lectora Inspire. They may also use graphic design software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, and video editing software, such as Adobe Premiere or Camtasia.

How do I create an effective e-learning experience?

An effective e-learning experience should be engaging, interactive, and user-friendly. It should be designed with the target audience and align with the learning objectives. Testing the e-learning module with a sample audience can help identify any usability or instructional issues that need to be addressed.

Alex Lockey
Director | Bolt Jobs
Founder Alex Lockey is an expert in further education, learning, and skills sector. He leads cost-effective hiring solutions and is known for successful talent placements. Dynamic and driven, Alex seeks innovative solutions to solve sector hiring challenges.