Who is a Learning Architect?

Summary: In this blog, we answer some questions about eLearning professionals who are in charge of writing and editing content for eLearning solutions – Learning Architects. Find out all about these versatile content masters.

Learning Architecture is a relatively new profession in the world of eLearning. It came from the need for professionals who will immerse themselves even more in the content behind eLearning courses and who will precede Instructional Designers in careful planning of the learning layout.

Exactly because it is a relatively new profession in the field, it can evoke many questions, like the one we have in the title: ‘Who is a Learning Architect?’, or What does a Learning Architect do?’, or even ‘How do I become a Learning Architect?’. Here we will carefully examine the role and provide answers.

A Learning Architect is a Content Master

If we start at the very beginning of an eLearning project and think about the reasons for its development, we can easily conclude that it all starts because there is a need to transfer some knowledge to the intended audience. This knowledge will then serve as a basis to develop new skills or hone the existing skills, and it is the content of the future eLearning project.

That is why Learning Architects come into the picture at the very beginning. They need to have an excellent understanding of that content because Learning Architects are those who will work closely with SMEs in the first stages of development. In those first stages of development, they will either help the SMEs develop content suitable for eLearning format or edit and adjust the existing content to make it more fitting for eLearning.

Developing and Organizing Content

In cases when the client has a learning need, but has no existing content prepared, a Learning Architect will collaborate closely with one or more SMEs on its development. Learning Architect will guide and advise SMEs about all the possible ways to approach the subject to make it interesting and suitable for an eLearning format.

In cases when there are a lot of subjects to cover, with the help of the SMEs, Learning Architects will create curriculums to help organize the subjects into shorter microlearning units. They will then cover each unit in a Storyboard, which serves as a precise blueprint for the future course.

Adjusting the Existing Content

In a lot of cases, the client will have existing content that they want to update, modify, and modernize. A Learning Architect will, again with the support of the SME, edit the content to make it more eLearning friendly. This means that the content will be divided into Storyboards.

Moreover, the editing includes the addition of different activities and interactive elements that will keep the audience engaged. It also includes producing quizzes and short knowledge checks to help with the retention of information. Learning Architects will have to consult with the Instructional Designers to make sure all the ideas and edits are in accordance with the eLearning format.

The Makings of a Learning Architect

As it is visible from the previous paragraphs, Learning Architects need to closely collaborate with other professionals. Most often it is a collaboration with one or more SMEs and with the Instructional Designer who will be producing and designing the eLearning deliverable.

Learning Architects will often serve as mediators who balance out the client’s wishes with the constraints of the design and course format. This is because most of the changes in the content, desired activities, and interactive elements are clarified in the Storyboard stage. The Learning Architecture stage effectively saves time and money, as it reduces the need for more extensive changes in the already finished course.

As the Storyboard stage includes instruction development and close collaboration with Instructional Designers, Learning Architects should also have knowledge about Instructional Design. They should know how to apply theories and models of Instructional Design to the content, to achieve the best effect for education and the transfer of knowledge.

Skills for Success

The above-mentioned ability to work in a team, and balance different expectations and requirements is extremely important. However, it is not the only skill that makes a successful Learning Architect. Here is a list of other skills that are essential for a Learning Architect:

  • Creativity
    Learning Architecture requires all kinds of creative thinking and creative solutions. eLearning solutions often require storytelling, allegories, characters, and gamification. A Learning Architect’s job is to always find new creative ways to approach the subject and make the content more interesting.
  • Problem-solving mindset
    As someone who will juggle between the client’s wishes and different constraints in the production, a Learning Architect should have a problem-solving mindset. They will need to come up with solutions for unexpected hitches, glitches, and conundrums on a daily basis.
  • Curious mind
    eLearning solutions are extremely popular and work for all kinds of industries: finance, pharma, retail, automotive, hospitality – you name it. As all kinds of subjects and topics will come into their hands, it is ideal for Learning Architects to have curiosity and genuine interest in many different fields and topics.
  • A way with words
    When dealing with content, Learning Architects do a lot of reading and comprehension, but also a lot of writing. In order to write all those Storyboards, and craft compelling storytelling, Learning Architects should be skilled in writing and friends with grammar.
  • Ability to present complex topics in easily understandable ways
    Last on our list, but not least, eLearning solutions will often incorporate complex content that an SME already mastered, but the intended audience hasn’t. In those cases, Learning Architects should be able to dilute the content and make understanding and learning just a bit easier for the learners.

Conclusion: Learning Architects are Versatile Professionals

Hopefully, we managed to answer your questions about those mysterious and versatile Learning Architects.

In short, Learning Architects are professionals who understand the principles of good eLearning and Instructional Design. They also have a curiosity about different fields and various topics. Last but not least, they have the ability to organize the content in such a way that learning becomes fun and easy.

However, one thing that we can be sure of is that the role of the Learning Architect will keep on developing. Just like in other professions, trends in eLearning are constantly changing and evolving, and lately, AI is posing new challenges and opening new possibilities for all eLearning professionals.

 

Author: Tajana Kovačević
Images: Ivan Blažević

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