How You Can Help Your Subject Matter Expert Create Effective eLearning Content
An experienced Subject Matter Expert is one of the most valuable assets you can have at your disposal. The key is knowing how to help them create an amazing eLearning course. In this article, I’ll share 6 top tips you can use to give your Subject Matter Expert the guidance they need to create effective online training courses.
Your Subject Matter Experts may be in charge of identifying the key takeaways and narrowing the scope of your eLearning course material. However, that doesn’t mean they have to go it alone. In fact, there are a variety of ways that Instructional Designers can help their Subject Matter Experts create more effective and engaging eLearning content. Not only will this speed up the eLearning development process, but it also boosts the benefits your audience is going to receive. Here are 6 tips and techniques for offering a helping hand to your Subject Matter Expert.
- Be clear about expectations and objectives.
As is the case with any professional, a Subject Matter Expert must have a clear idea of what’s expected of them before the eLearning project begins. They must also be certain of the shared goals and objectives of the eLearning course. This is why it’s essential to have a discussion with them in advance to let them know their job responsibilities and how they fit into the eLearning development team. It’s also wise to talk about deadlines and milestones, so that they can be aware of when each step of the process must be completed. If they are left in the dark about all of these key issues, then they are likely to become frustrated or discouraged by the experience because they’ve been left out of the loop. You may even want to provide your Subject Matter Expert with examples of what you have in mind, and definitely get their feedback and address any concerns they might have.
- Work together to create a successful eLearning strategy.
Your Subject Matter Expert should be an integral part of your eLearning team. In fact, you should have them on hand when making any major decisions about the eLearning project, especially if it pertains to the training courses and online activities. Keep in mind that the Subject Matter Expert can offer you a wealth of information about the topic, which can then pass onto your audience. However, if you don’t work together to develop a winning eLearning strategy, then you are missing out on a big opportunity. Your Subject Matter Expert should also know as much as possible about your online learners, such as their background, as well as what they need to take away from the eLearning experience.
- Focus on how learners can use the information to achieve eLearning goals.
One of the most significant obstacles that Subject Matter Experts face when developing eLearning content is differentiating between the information learners need in the real world and information that might be good to know. Stress the importance of creating eLearning content that centers on goal achievement and real life challenges. Focusing on extraneous info that is not necessarily in-line with the overall goals of the eLearning course can also lead to cognitive overload. This prevents the learners from absorbing and retaining the key pieces of knowledge, which diminishes the value of the eLearning course. Have a discussion with your Subject Matter Expert about each of the learning objectives to be covered and how the eLearning content, activities, and online assessments are going to further those goals.
- Ask them to step inside the shoes of the learner.
It can be easy to distance yourself from the eLearning experience, itself, when you are trying to create an eLearning course. However, it is important for Subject Matter Experts to occasionally step inside the shoes of the learners and see things from their perspective. Encourage them to take a close look at all of the eLearning content and online resources as if they were actually taking the eLearning course. Does the eLearning content give them the information they need in a timely manner? Does it focus on the specific skills they require in their personal and professional lives? Are there areas of the eLearning course that may be confusing or difficult to understand?
- Make the learners work for the information.
In some instances, a Subject Matter Expert may simply offer the learner information outright, rather than making them search for it in the eLearning content. In other words, they don’t make them work for the knowledge and skill development. Encourage your Subject Matter Experts to focus on knowledge discovery instead of knowledge presentation. For example, they can include thought provoking questions or online scenarios that allow leaners to explore the situation and how their actions lead to consequences. If a learner is able to find the information on their own they are more likely to remember and recall it in their “moment of need”.
- Remind them that learners do not need to become Subject Matter Experts.
A learner does not need to become an expert in the topic, unless, of course, that is the objective of the eLearning course. Instead, they need to be able to carry out a task or expand their knowledge base within a limited scope. They also don’t have a great deal of time to engage in the eLearning experience, which means that you need to focus on what’s really important. The Subject Matter Expert has a vast amount of experience in the field, but they need to bear in mind that learners simply need to remember the key takeaways and achieve their goals.
Helping your Subject Matter Expert to create more effective eLearning content for your eLearning course is a win-win situation for everyone. You can use these 6 tips to make your design and development process productive, and to support your Subject Matter Expert to the best of your ability. Remember, a great Subject Matter Expert is worth their weight in gold, and offering them the guidance they need can foster a long lasting eLearning partnership.
Looking for additional tips on to work with Subject Matter Experts? Read the article Working With Subject Matter Experts: The Ultimate Guide to learn how build a respectful working relationship with Subject Matter Experts in order to facilitate your eLearning design and development process.