eLearning Development Roles

title image - roles in elearning development

eLearning Development Roles

Matt Archer

August 5, 2021

Why are Roles Important in eLearning Development?

eLearning development can be a large undertaking that contains many moving parts. Changing one part can impact other areas, creating extra work, so it’s vital for everyone to know what needs to be done and who is responsible. This is why eLearning development roles are so important.

Roles allow your team to define the flow of the eLearning project from beginning to end. This is done by assigning roles to be responsible for each step of the process. Roles help ensure you’re not missing any stage of development. They also help avoid long pauses where no work is happening due to team members being unsure who should be doing what and when.

Primary Development Roles

The roles below should be present in most eLearning development projects. While these roles tend to be played by different people on larger teams, some of them may be played by the same person on smaller teams or projects. Providing a clear definition of these roles and their responsibilities is very important when assigning roles to your team.

Project Sponsor

The project sponsor is usually the person financially funding the project, and they may also be the person who wants the eLearning created in the first place. They are often concerned with seeing high-level progress and understanding the impacts of budget and return on investment.

Project sponsor - roles in elearning development
project manager - roles in elearning development

Project Manager

The project manager is the person who is responsible for making sure the project gets completed on time and to the degree of quality expected. They make plans, set deadlines, meet with key players and enforce rules when needed.

The ultimate responsibility for the eLearning lies with the project manager. Even though they might not be working on the design, their job is to ensure all roles are defined and doing what they’re supposed to.

Instructional Designer

The instructional designer is the person in charge of creating the framework of the course. If you think of an eLearning like a house, then the instructional designer is like an architect that confers with the client to create a blueprint.

Often they will mine the content from the minds of the SMEs and structure it into the course framework. They may also be in charge of building the eLearning itself, depending on the size of your team.

Instructional designer - roles in elearning development
Subject matter expert - roles in elearning development

Subject Matter Expert (SME)

The SME is an integral piece of the eLearning design puzzle. Ultimately they are the one who is providing the information to the instructional design team that will be turned into content. Depending on the course, SMEs may need to have a large amount of availability for instructional designers to get all the information needed from them.


The learners usually aren’t directly involved in development. However, the course is being designed to deliver content to them, so they assume a passive role in the design process. It’s important for the design team to consider what’s going to work best for the learners as they plan and develop their course.

Learners - roles in elearning development

Additional Roles

The roles below are no less important to the process of eLearning development, but may not always be called out in your organizational chart. In smaller companies these roles may be filled by team members already in a primary development role, while in larger companies they may be filled by a specialist, or even a team in some cases.

Course Designer - roles in elearning development

Course Designer

If an instructional designer is like an architect, then a course designer is like the construction worker that’s actually building the house. Course designers take what the instructional designer has given them and puts it together as requested, as well as ensuring that it functions as expected.

There may sometimes be a separate Quality Assurance team member that tests the course once it has reached that stage, but on smaller teams this role is often filled by the course designer. This role may seem restrictive in what it can do, but it often has a lot of freedom to take the more abstract structures the instructional designer provides and build it in unique and interesting ways.

Voice Over Artist

Not all eLearning courses have narration, but when done well it does provide an interesting and engaging addition to the learning experience. The voice over artist is the talent providing the voice for your narration or other supporting audio features. They may be an external hire, or they may be an internal team member. Their job is to bring the learning to life with their voice.

Voice over artist - roles in elearning development
Graphic Artist - roles in elearning development

Graphic Designer

The graphic designer has an equally important job to the voice over artist. Their job is to find or create graphical pieces that will enhance and support the eLearning content. While anyone can search for existing images online, many courses may require unique images that just don’t exist. A skilled graphic designer can create those images for you and help your learners better understand the content.

Final Thoughts

Positive Results™ is an instructional design and cloud services company that helps organizations identify gaps in their business process and provides solutions to resolve them.

We believe that having clear roles in your eLearning development will help your training team and your learners. By ensuring everyone knows what they’re responsible for, you eliminate ambiguity and promote a clearer pathway to success.


If you have additional questions or need support, contact us at:


Positive Results™ Custom Business Solutions



Scroll to Top