Working with Subject Matter Experts

Your subject matter experts, or SMEs, play a huge role in building your e-Learning course. You need them to help build the information you’re presenting in a course to make sure it’s relevant and useful for your learners. But sometimes their high level of expertise in a topic can often make them lose perspective on what is the most fundamental information for the audience to learn.

Here are 4 things that your subject matter experts and your e-Learning team need to know before the e-Learning development process begins:

Establish your objectives. Sit down with your SMEs early in the development process to establish your course objectives. Make sure they understand the timeframe, deadlines and workflow, so your project stays on track. Discuss the different stages of the development process and be clear who is responsible for what.
Evaluate all the information SMEs provide. Review all the information that the SMEs provide, and see what will benefit your learners in the end. Once you establish what information will be the most valuable, then you can develop your course around that. This will help everyone on your team understand how to build your course scenarios or what interactions may be the best to use.
Group your information. Your SMEs are filled with knowledge about the topic of your course; that’s why they’re the experts! Help them understand the value in organizing specific information together, so it can be more engaging for your learners. Show examples of past courses to show SMEs visually what you are looking for, so it’s easier to understand how this information will be presented and used throughout the course. For example, if you want to group one section of information together for a problem solving section and another for a quiz, use visuals—it always helps!
Remember your learners are the priority. Even though your subject matter experts will want to focus on the information, you need to make them understand that the main focus is how the learner will use the information. Information overload can be overwhelming to your learners. Put yourself in the shoes of your learners, and see what context will be the best option for them to learn and remember the information without feeling stressed.
SMEs are a huge value to your course, but you’re also coming from two different worlds! Most likely, they will focus on pushing out all of this information because it’s valuable. Even though all their information may be valuable, it may not be to your learners. Make sure your SMEs understand learning theory and the objectives of e-Learning. This will help them understand how their expertise is a value to your learners and will result in a fantastic e-Learning course.

Check out the Lectora e-Learning Blog or Lectora University for more great e-Learning tips, tricks and video resources!