Getting to Know Your Subject Matter Experts

Your subject matter expert, or SME, is a valuable resource—and an essential part of the
e-Learning development process. However, sometimes communicating with SMEs, or any team member, can be a challenge. That’s why your friends at Your Everything for e-Learning Place are here to help!

Today, we have 4 tips to help you get to know your subject matter expert:

1. Ask productive questions.

Make a list of specific questions to ask your SME, so you get the information you need for your course. Your SME knows a ton about the topic—he or she is the expert! Make sure the discussion is focused; that’s why it’s important to have specific questions prepared. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What are the most dangerous mistakes employees can make during this task? What are the consequences?
  • Can you give an example or story to illustrate this key point?
  • What information is helpful to include as a reference? (Think performance support here!)
  • What are the 3 most important points an employee should remember about this topic after the course is over?

2. Discuss visuals.

If you don’t understand something, your learners probably won’t either! Don’t be afraid to ask your SME to sketch out a diagram for you to help illustrate a concept. You can also ask your SME what type of visual would help support the key points you’ve outlined for your course.

3. Prepare for your SME meeting.

Have your list of specific questions ready ahead of time. If your SME sends you any information, read it before the meeting. That way, you’re ready to ask questions about anything that doesn’t make sense.

4. Respect your SME.

Working with SMEs can be frustrating at times, but they’re essential to the success of your
e-Learning course. Be patient and work with your SME, involving him or her throughout the development process. The sooner you include your SME, the better it is for you because you won’t waste time redoing parts of the course that your SME disagrees with.

For more ways to help team collaboration, check out this blog post: 5 Tips to Improve Collaboration with Your e-Learning Team.

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