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Digital Learning's Most In-Demand Job Roles

If you’re looking to retrain or make the best use of your existing skillsets, the below will give you a great idea of the skillsets that employers are currently looking for.

Over the last 12 months, the Digital Learning world has been on the same rollercoaster as every other industry, however, it also accepted the added responsibility of keeping the ride going whilst making it a smooth one. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, our wonderful sector of Digital Learning has never been more depended upon.

Thanks to a huge shift towards remote learning and online learning, Instinct has recognised a very distinct pattern in the most sought-after job roles, specifically within Higher Education institutes. 

We will focus on this area, simply because this is the area that I, Katrina Conroy, specialise in and can offer the best insight into.

With the blow of COVID-19 in March, Instinct noticed an immediate freeze amongst all hiring processes across the sectors, both public and commercial. As companies and institutes were unsure of what was fast-approaching and the general feeling that the end was nigh, the “pulling of the plug” soon started.

Job advertisements drop by 354,000 in one month. Image of woman looking distressed.

This included the pulling of job adverts, the cancellation of interviews, removal of offers, and even the cancellation of some employees' first day. From our perspective, this was the worst point of 2020. Just like the rest of the country, we packed up our belongings and headed home to work from the kitchen table or any other desk space we could create.

In this time, active job adverts had the largest fall since September 1992 – falling by 354,000 (UK) in the space of 1 month.

Whilst we all tried to get to grips with the situation by watching Boris on the tele and confusing our furry friends with our presence, the furlough scheme was introduced, and companies could see some form of a lifeline.

The digital learning market seemed to somewhat level off (although everything had already been cancelled, so you could argue that it couldn’t have gotten any worse). Universities and educational establishments needed to move their learning online, and they needed to do it quickly. A mammoth task that would have previously taken years, needed to be done in weeks and months.

Digital Learning became a necessity, rather than a luxury - image of woman using a laptop.

By the summer, the demand for Learning Technologists (LT) began. Learning Technologists were like hot cakes – everybody wanted one, and it seemed that everybody wanted to be one.

They would have three to four interviews in one day, virtually receiving “on the spot” offers. Companies offering day rates and FTC's (Fixed-term Contracts) were looking for up to ten Learning Technologists at any one point, requiring them to train academics on the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and help them convert their traditional in-person lectures to online.

This was swiftly followed by the need for Instructional and Learning Designers (ID), to use their pedagogical expertise to ensure the quality offered remained outstanding, and VLE Helpdesk Support to aid with examinations and the volume of content going onto the VLE.

The demand for digital learning and eLearning talent has remained high within the Higher Education sector and the most advertised posts through Instinct Resourcing over the last 12 months has been: 

  • Learning Technologists

  • Instructional Designers

  • eLearning Developers

  • VLE Helpdesk Support / Administration


It seems now, more than ever, that digital learning is being invested in by a magnitude of institutions.

Instinct has seen a 75% increase in interim positions compared to 2019, with the majority of requirements seeking Learning Technologists and Instructional Designers


Overall, our hopes for the remainder of 2021 are high.

Digital learning is stronger than ever, and the need for high-quality digital learning talent remains firmly in place. New organisations and qualification opportunities are popping up to encourage people into the sector, offering training to become Instructional Designers, Learning Technologists, and VLE Administrators.

This will enhance the digital learning of the future, the importance of which will not falter.

"Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing." - Donna J. Abernathy.