Instructional Designer? LMS Administrator? Trainer? You’ve probably seen these terms in job ads or have even used them to describe yourself. If you’re just beginning in a training related profession (that’s not in a school) or interested in getting started, it can get confusing trying to describe what these different roles are and what they actually DO.
In this brief article, we’ll look at common training positions and what they entail. We’ll relate them back to 4 things a training department must do to be effective in a modern organization:
- Communicate knowledge to learners.
Somebody must understand the knowledge well enough to teach others face-to-face. For most of human history this was as far as a training team department went.
- Create learning resources.
It turns out creating and using materials that can be distributed and shared makes training much more efficient. Technology and research have greatly improved the kinds of materials that can now be created.
- Manage resources and records.
Record keeping is necessary for training to become integrated with the operations and policies of an organization. The bigger the organization and the more knowledge they have to train, the more complex a task this becomes (which is why electronic Learning Management Systems have become commonplace).
- Plan the big-picture direction of the team.
A modern training team might be comprised of unique individuals with unique skills, but they need to be able to work towards common goals inline with the rest of the organization.
Assuming most if not all training departments are trying to accomplish these 4 things, the roles below should now make sense!
Trainers communicate knowledge to learners.
Trainers are usually the most hands-on role in a company’s training department. Trainers get out in the field and work directly with their learners—teaching, demonstrating, and advising. They need a solid understanding of the content they are teaching and good communication skills to pass it on to their students.
- Leading classes, webinars, and demonstrations
- Meeting and working directly with learners
- Writing or recording classes, webinars, and demonstrations as reusable learning materials
Instructional designers create learning resources.
An instructional designer is a content creator—whether it’s written materials, digital presentations, videos, or interactive games. A good instructional designer understands the best way to identify learning objectives, create a plan for delivering and assessing knowledge, and build resources to support it using a variety of media.
- Creating curriculum, programs, and courses for learners
- Working with subject matter experts to collect knowledge
- Writing, designing, filming, editing, and sometimes programming learning content
Learning Management System Administrator
LMS admins manage resources and records.
A learning management system (LMS) is a tool (usually a piece of software) that tracks learning resources and records in an organization. The LMS administrator is the person that keeps it running smoothly. That means working with different teams and roles like IT staff, instructional designers, executives, and end users to ensure the LMS is well-maintained and fulfilling its planned purpose.
- Managing and maintaining the LMS and its users
- Troubleshooting LMS issues
- Working with the rest of the training team to implement training solutions
Training managers plan the big-picture direction of the team.
Like most managers, a training manager is primarily in charge of people. The training manager might not get hands-on with the learners, content, or software involved in training, but they oversee and plan-out the big picture goals of the training department. As we go up the company hierarchy, a training manager might be called a director or, eventually, a chief learning office (CLO).
- Managing a team of people
- Setting targets and creating plans to achieve them
- Reporting on the status of training projects
- Working with other departments and stakeholders
In some cases, a company might be looking for a “learning specialist” or “training specialist”. Usually this means that they are looking for someone who can do all of the above.
- Anything remotely training related (and oftentimes not training related)
Training is an important part of every organization and one that is still evolving. The roles above are common ways that organizations are structuring responsibilities in their training teams. Whether or not they follow the conventions above, someone has to:
- Communicate knowledge to learners
- Create learning resources
- Manage resources and records
- Plan the big-picture direction of the team
Or sometimes it’s all up to one person. Being deficient in any of these areas means less effective training for the whole organization. Common roles evolved as a way to distribute these responsibilities to the right people with the right skills.
We hope you found this article useful whether you are career planning, job searching, employee searching, or just looking for a better way to describe what you do!
Learn more about Cogcentric Labs and our customizable Fabric LMS at https://cogcentric.com.