Making a move from face-to-face to online training? Step four: Gather your team

Considering a move to online training? Don’t forget to involve your team. In this article we’ll identify the elearning roles and responsibilities you need to fill.

moving to online training gather your team

For some, those first steps from the land of face-to-face training into the virtual world of digital training can seem daunting. We’ve been running a series of blogs to help guide you through your thinking, from taking a step back to first analyze what you need, to putting together a blend, through to keeping that all-important people element in your online learning. If you’ve decided digital is definitely for you, how do you put your vision together? Or, to put it another way, who will help you?

Search for your inner heroes

inner heroes

Good news – if you’ve been providing face-to-face training already, chances are you have your inner elearning team already at your disposal – you just might not realize it yet.

New to the whole process of creating training? Don’t be alarmed. With collaborative authoring tools like Elucidat, you don’t need to be an expert to create great online learning.

Use our guide to help identify key players in your organization who can take on the core roles required to create fantastic online and blended learning.

What three core roles?

A recent post from Jane Hart takes a detailed look at the various roles that can be part of an online or blended learning solution. Her comprehensive diagram captures every type of learning, so check it out!

Jane lands on three core roles that underpin the creation or management of all kinds of learning. To summarize her explanation, these are:

  • Coordinating roles: to manage events – virtual and not – as well as content creation and campaigns
  • Facilitating roles: to facilitate classroom and virtual collaborative or social learning events
  • Advising roles: to get the most from collaborative, action, and other social learning opportunities, you need experts who can be personal coaches or mentors for learners and/or managers.

Now, we’re going to do a bit of a spin on Jane’s diagram to provide you with a guide for who you need in place to help you create your core elearning, any social or blended elements you need to include, and that all-important area of marketing to make sure your learning lands with a sizzle.

So, our diagram looks like this:

Elearning roles

What does it tell you?

Our diagram shows some elements or events you might have in your learning program within the elearning itself (inner circle), social or blended if you have it (middle circle), and that all-important promotion or sales of your product(s) (outer circle). We’re not saying you have to do them all, and certainly for the middle and outer learning elements, you can see how we’ve created some classic combos to achieve different needs.

Related: Moving to blended learning: how to construct a blended solution

By starting with what you want to achieve, you can then consider what roles (or heroes) you might need.

So, let’s take a look at who can help you, starting with the creation of your core elearning.

Elearning roles

Elearning can be easier or faster to create with an authoring tool like Elucidat. By creating your own elearning, you have the flexibility to add to or update it whenever you need to, turn projects around ultra-quick, and keep costs down – especially because you can use your in-house team.

So, who is in that team? Well, it might be just one person straddling the different roles and responsibilities, or it could be a few choice heroes. You need to find:

Product owner (coordinator)

  • Set out clear goals for the elearning (see action mapping)
  • Work out what learning approach will work best e.g. scenario driven, game-based
  • Decide what type of content is going to go where – storyboard it in a doc or pop descriptions directly into the tool
  • Edit and sign off on the final product

Subject Expert (advisor) – may be more than 1

  • Provide core content to support the goals and approach, particularly stories, examples, case studies, scenarios, ideas for challenges

Content author – can be done by above

  • Create elearning content using an authoring tool

Now, the product owner or expert(s) can easily be the content author, particularly with an easy-to-use, collaborative authoring tool. By enabling experts to create content within the tool itself, it skips out creating documents that go back and forth. And since you can preview the content, you can design the content for the screen and interact with it rather than trying to make a whole heap of text retrofit.

Optional extras

In addition, you might need:

  • Video producer
  • Audio producer
  • Specialist graphic designer
  • Specialist instructional designer

Freelance is an option here. But in this day and age where video and audio can be recorded on mobiles, plenty of tools can be used to help you create your own media assets without breaking the bank. So, don’t rule out expert video selfies or product owners recording interviews with experts over Skype. You can find other tool ideas here.

Social/blend roles

If you’re dabbling with a blend or you want to formalize some social learning in your mix, here are some roles you might need to consider. Ignore these if you’re sticking with an elearning-only solution.

If you look back at our diagram, you’ll see that half of the green wheel requires a facilitator and half requires an advisor. A coordinator will need to straddle both sides.

Here are the social/blend roles and their respective responsibilities:


  • Facilitate synchronized or scheduled group sessions.
  • Similar to workshop facilitators, they do not have to be a subject expert, but do need to be able to drive learners towards the goals and outcomes for the session.
  • They might facilitate a virtual classroom session using some pre-prepared slides and activities, an online discussion by asking probing questions, or provide coaching to individuals or groups with reflective questioning techniques.
  • This can be done virtually or face-to-face.

Subject expert (advisor)

  • Use their knowledge and expertise to guide the development of others.
  • They may answer questions in forums or scheduled drop-in online chats, provide feedback on assignments, observe learners – through video conferencing, or face-to-face – to ascertain competency, or provide mentoring to individuals or small groups either face-to-face or online.
  • Extending the role of the expert beyond the development of the elearning can also be seen as a ‘needs must’ role – they can intervene when someone needs extra support.


  • To schedule and manage events, as well as assist with the running of those events.
  • Your experts or facilitators may require support with any technology being used to deliver these forms of learning, e.g. virtual classroom software

Product Owner (coordinator)

  • Set out clear goals for each element (as before)
  • Work out what learning approach will work best, e.g. chat, poll, group task
  • Decide what type of content is going to go where
  • Edit and sign off on the final product

You may find that your experts can also play the roles of product owner and facilitator – particularly if it’s a virtual classroom session and they are used to running workshops.

Promotion/sales roles

Last, but certainly not least, is the promotion and/or sale of your learning product or strategy. No matter how great your learning design is, you need to drive the traffic and the desire to do it. This is particularly true if you’re undertaking a behavioral or cultural change with your subject matter.

If you’re a training reseller, then sales will already be your bag. But, if you’re interested we shared some tips for external marketing here.

Delivering learning within an organization needs just as much promotion and marketing. Don’t assume that employees are intrinsically motivated to do your learning, yet they do need to be. Driving a desire to do it ramps up engagement, which is essential for learning to take place.

Check out the roles in the main diagram to help you consider who or what you need to get your elearning off to a great start.

Related: Stay on top of the latest elearning ideas, trends and technologies by subscribing to the Elucidat weekly newsletter.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking to make the move from face-to-face training to online elearning, and want to create your product(s) by using an easy-to-use authoring tool like Elucidat, you will need to fulfill two core roles: a coordinator to pull it all together; and an advisor to provide expert content. Depending on your set-up and goals for your learning, you might already have an in-house hero who can do both.

Other roles, such as facilitation, come into play if you decide to bring in scheduled sessions like online workshops or virtual classrooms.

So, when it comes to identifying your team, use our guide and consider the skills required to create your desired solution – you might already have team members who can step up to the challenge.

Need help working out how best to actually design that core elearning? Look out for our upcoming series on elearning design models that work.

Download: The Ultimate Guide: How to move from face-to-face to online learning

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold is the Chief Executive of Elucidat. He helps large companies and training providers speed up and simplify their elearning authoring.
Steve Penfold
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