Programmers are the unsung heroes of the e-learning industry. Think about it. How many corporate learning departments do you know that have even one full-time programmer on staff?
Most organizations that build their own training use a rapid development tool as a way to get around the need for someone who can actually build stuff. When it comes to custom e-learning development, good programmers are just as critical as instructional designers, writers, and graphic designers. Hey, look, the four pillars of custom e-learning!
See why programmers are the unsung heroes? It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re talking about them. Programmers are the people behind the scenes of your project, building an engine that no learner will ever see, yet every learner will depend upon. Sometimes (read: all the time) they bring really good ideas to a course design because they think in different ways than instructional designers, subject matter experts, and learning leaders.
You may think these conversations consist of instructional designers throwing out wild ideas and programmers throwing cold water on them. But no, that (almost) never happens. In reality, the four pillars build on each other by bringing their unique perspectives to the table. While the programmer will ultimately be responsible for the nuts and bolts of the course (i.e. the engine), they generally have a vision that says things like, “If we’re going to build out that feature, it would be pretty easy to also add x, y, and z.”
It’s here that the concept of truly custom e-learning comes to life: instead of being constrained by a rapid development tool’s capabilities, having a programmer on the team allows you to find creative ways to do what you want.