Allegro Media DesignBlog

From Concept to Clicks: The Crucial Role of eLearning Developers

What in the world is an eLearning Developer?

Perhaps you’ve been tasked with building a training series for your department. Or maybe you’re a graphic designer looking to take your skills into a different career path. Heck, maybe you’ve just seen the words “eLearning Developer” and are curious what on earth that means. Any of these scenarios may lead you to the question “What is an eLearning Developer?” Having nearly 30 years combined eLearning Development at Allegro, we feel fully equipped to answer the question!

Today we'll explore what an eLearning Developer IS, what they are NOT, what makes them "good" or "bad" at what they do, and when you should consider hiring a full-time eLearning Developer or outsourcing your corporate training needs to a full-service eLearning vendor.

Shall we?

Who an eLearning Developer IS

Who an eLearning Developer is:

At the most basic level, eLearning developers are highly skilled visual designers that use software and authoring tools to transform static content into engaging, interactive digital courses.

eLearning developers typically enter the course-creation process after a script and/or outline has been written and approved. They don’t frequently spend time in the writing phase of the course, but rather leave that task to Instructional Designers, who have more experience laying out and writing course content. There are certainly some multi-tasking hybrid developers out there who both write and design courses, but (from our experience at least) most excel at one or the other.

eLearning Developers are designers. Many have strong backgrounds in graphic design, and for good reason. Learners will be far less engaged by a course that is boring to look at. Think about your own experience, are you more likely to read a poster written in black marker on white paper or one that has a colorful background and a lively picture of the subject? And there you have it.

eLearning Developers are skilled in many software environments. It used to be that eLearning Developers had to have a strong knowledge of custom web development skills like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Nowadays, user-friendly software exists to design courses. Here at Allegro, we prefer to use Storyline, but of course, there are many other options. Aside from just course development, many eLearning Developers are also skilled in media editing software such as Photoshop for images, After Effects and Adobe Premiere for video, Vyond for animation, and Pro Tools for audio.

While they don’t typically write the script or content for courses, eLearning Developers usually (and hopefully!) have some awareness and basic understanding of learning theory. Knowing how to lay things out visually and how to encourage learners to engage with the course is a crucial skill to maximize course efficacy!

Who an eLearning Developer is NOT

Who an eLearning Developer is NOT:

eLearning Developers have a ton of responsibilities, but they aren’t always involved in every part of the course creation project.

eLearning Developers ≠ Instructional Designers.

As we mentioned, eLearning Developers often jump into the process after the content has been gathered and the storyboard has been written. This means they aren’t doing the research or content gathering. Instead, an Instructional Designer is more likely to take on these tasks at the beginning of the project. Keep in mind, in the L&D field, this varies and there is sometimes overlap in responsibilities between these two roles.

Likewise, an eLearning Developer is typically not a content expert.

Sometimes, they may work with a SME (subject matter expert) to get more context around a topic, but for the most part they rely on the content from the instructional designer to build the course. That’s not to say an eLearning developer can’t or shouldn’t do their own research! But relying on content from other team members allows them to focus on the task at hand: creating a fun and engaging learning experience for the end user!

An eLearning Developer is not the same as a Learning Management System (LMS) manager.

Again, there may be overlap in responsibilities, but for the most part, the duties of the eLearning Developer cease after course delivery. They don’t often take on the responsibility of uploading the course to an LMS or managing it once on there.

Note that when we say they are generally not any of the above things, they may be ALL of these things in some circumstances or work environments.

Not All eLearning Developers Are Created Equal:

Before you dive into finding the perfect eLearning developer, it's crucial to understand that not all developers are created equal. The best eLearning developers know how to deliver content that is not just informative but engaging, attractive, and retainable. Quality matters, and we pride ourselves on creating courses that stand out. Finding the right eLearning developer for your project is essential to ensure the success and effectiveness of your training programs. Here are key factors to consider when searching for a great eLearning developer:

1) Portfolio Assessment:

Examine their portfolio to evaluate the variety and quality of projects they've worked on. Look for diversity in design styles, interactivity, and multimedia elements.

2) Technology Proficiency:

Ensure they are proficient in eLearning development tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, or other relevant software. Check if they stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies.

3) Understanding of Learning Theories:

Assess their knowledge of learning theories and how they incorporate them into course design. A good eLearning developer understands how adults learn and applies these principles effectively.

4) Engagement Strategies:

Inquire about their strategies for keeping learners engaged throughout the course. Look for examples of interactive elements, scenario-based learning, or gamification in their previous work.

5) Collaboration and Communication Skills:

Effective collaboration is crucial. Check if they have experience working with instructional designers, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders. Communication skills are key; ensure they can explain complex concepts in a clear and concise manner.

6) Innovation and Creativity:

Seek out developers who demonstrate innovation and creativity in their approach to eLearning design. Look for evidence of unique solutions to common corporate training challenges.

7) Alignment with Your Vision:

Ensure the developer understands your organization's goals, values, and the specific outcomes you want to achieve with the training. Check if they can tailor their approach to align with your overall training strategy.

By considering these factors and thoroughly vetting potential eLearning developers, you increase the likelihood of finding a professional who not only meets but exceeds your expectations, delivering courses that captivate and educate your audience effectively.

When to Hire a Full-Time eLearning Developer vs. Outsourcing to a Full-Service eLearning Vendor

Deciding whether to hire an in-house eLearning developer or outsource to a specialized eLearning production house is a critical decision that depends on various factors. Here's a guide to help you make an informed choice:

Hiring a Full-Time eLearning Developer:

Consider hiring a full-time eLearning developer if you have the following requirements:

Consistent Demand:

If your organization has a continuous need for eLearning courses and training materials, a full-time developer may be a valuable investment to handle ongoing projects.

Internal Expertise:

When your organization requires an in-house expert who can deeply understand the company culture, industry-specific nuances, and tailor training accordingly.

Long-Term Commitment:

When there's a long-term vision for developing a robust internal training department, and you want dedicated resources to build and maintain a library of courses.

Outsourcing to a Media Production House like Allegro Media Design:

Consider outsourcing to an eLearning agency for the following:

Project-Based Needs:

For one-time or sporadic projects, outsourcing to a specialized media production house can be cost-effective and efficient.

Access to Diverse Skills:

If your training content requires a range of skills such as graphic design, multimedia production, and instructional design, a media production house can provide a team with diverse expertise.


When your training needs vary, outsourcing allows you to scale up or down based on project requirements without the commitment of a full-time hire.

Industry Insights:

Media production houses often work with a variety of clients across industries, bringing valuable insights and innovative solutions that can benefit your training programs.

Benefits of Hiring a Development Vendor

1) Expertise and Experience:

Development vendors like Allegro Media Design bring years of experience and a specialized skill set to ensure high-quality, engaging, and effective eLearning courses.

2) Cost-Effective Solutions:

Outsourcing can be a cost-effective option, especially for small to medium-sized businesses that may not have the resources to maintain a full-time development team.

3) Faster Turnaround:

Development vendors are equipped to handle projects efficiently, leading to faster turnaround times compared to an in-house team that may have competing priorities.

4) Access to Cutting-Edge Technology:

Media production houses often invest in the latest eLearning development tools and technologies, ensuring your courses are created using the most advanced and effective methods.

5) Flexibility and Scalability:

Vendors offer flexibility in terms of project scope and scalability, allowing you to adapt to changing training needs without the constraints of a permanent hire.

6) Quality Assurance:

Established media production houses have quality assurance processes in place to deliver courses that meet industry standards and exceed client expectations.

By carefully considering your organization's specific needs, budget constraints, and the nature of your training projects, you can determine whether hiring a full-time eLearning developer or outsourcing to a media production house is the most strategic choice for your training initiatives.


As you can see, an eLearning Developer is a LOT of things and often wears many hats! Interested in learning more about how an eLearning Developer can help your company take training to the next level? Shoot us a message- we’d love to hear from you! Building effective training courses requires the right expertise. If you're seeking seasoned eLearning developers who understand the intricacies of engaging, attractive, and retainable content, Allegro Media Design is here to help. Contact us today to explore how we can elevate your training solutions and drive meaningful results!