How a Learning Engineer Scales Up Learning Technologies

October 7, 2020
4 minutes
This week Guy Wallace joins us to talk about Performance-based Instructional Analysis

The term Learning Engineer is still new for many in the world of Learning and Development.  

In this episode of IDIODC we talked with one Learning Engineer who scaled up a learning solution in Zambia.  The struggles her team encountered are similar in other countries and organizations.  

Now is the time to take a serious look at the standards being created for the role of Learning Engineer and what it means for your career.

Instructional design is only one small part of the equation, but it’s still a necessary part. So, don’t be concerned. Be prepared.

Our guest, Jodi Lis, shared her experience with a large scale project in Africa and also shared the work being done to standardize the new title: Learning Engineer.  

Learning technologies, instructional design methodologies, business acumen, data analysis, are just a few of the elements today’s professionals need to understand. We discussed having a “T-shaped skillset for practitioners. This gives us all a wide, but shallow, understanding of all the necessary elements and diving more deeply into ONE of the elements. And which element to dive into is completely up to you and will likely depend upon your current job or interests.

You can view the full archive recording which includes the chat comments here.  

Here are the links shared during today’s conversation with Jodi.

Zambia Project Links

Sustainable Development Goals

Zambia eLearning platform

If interested in technology & international development, a good place to start is

If interested in global digital health, subscribe to

Learning Engineer Links

Job of a College President, Herb Simon

Additional Background Links

The Need For Learning Engineers (and Learning Engineering) Bill Jerome, April 2013

Why We Need Learning Engineers Bror Saxburg, April 2015

Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reforms MIT, April 2016

Bridging learning research and teaching practice for the public good: The learning engineer Candace Thille, November 2016

Learning Engineering for Online Education Theoretical Contexts and Design-Based Examples edited by Chris Dede, John Richards, Bror Saxberg


ID and LE

Learning Engineering: A Primer, Ellen Wagner (Research Report, Learning Guild)

Teaming up to Improve Medical/Healthcare Education: Instructional Design & Learning Engineering, Dina Kurzweil and Karen E. (Beth) Marcellas



Job descriptions:



OpenSimon is a learning engineering community at the Simon Initiative, Carnegie Mellon University to improve learning outcomes and advance understanding of human learning

Learning Agency launched a Learning Engineering Google Group.  A newsletter, Learning Engineering Quarterly, published by University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning is designed to complement the Google Group.

Schmidt Futures, Futures Forum on Learning

The Playful Journey Lab, together with the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), has started their Learning Engineering Journey to explore the practice of learning engineering in the Learning Engineering Project Blueprint

Empirical Educator Project -- The goal of the Empirical Educator Project: to focus on “increasing propagation and collaborative

refinement [of current efforts] by lowering the barriers and increasing the opportunities and incentives for collaborative work”

About Jodi Lis

Jodi Lis is Senior Advisor, Learning at IntraHealth International, a global health nonprofit that works to improve the performance of health workers and strengthen the systems. She designs and implements digital learning interventions in workforce development, pre-service education and capacity-building initiatives for health and education sectors in Africa. These include teacher training institutes in Liberia, midwifery and community nursing schools in Ghana, health providers in Zambia and teachers in Kenya. She directed a local educational technology organization in The Gambia, where she lived for thirteen years. She is on the Executive Board of IEEE IC Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering (ICICLE).


Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (affectionately known as IDIODC) is a weekly live videocast and podcast that helps instructional designers with pain points and provides best practices and industry insight.  

Every Wednesday morning at 10am ET hosts Brent Schlenker and Chris Van Wingerden guide us through an upbeat and candid conversation with their guests from the elearning and training world. The live cast session encourages peers to participate in the chat and share their own personal insight! After airing live, you can catch the learning podcast on all major streams such as Spotify, Apple and Google Play podcasts, as well as on YouTube.