4 steps to involve Subject Matter Experts in your learning strategy 


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Written by Tiffany Backers

Customer Success Coach

It is probably one of the biggest challenges for people working on learning and development within an organization: how do you collect the right knowledge and information in a learning module? Or more important, how do you involve the employee who possesses the knowledge in the development of new training materials? In this blog we give you 4 tips on how to involve Subject Matter Experts in your learning strategy.

What is a Subject Matter Expert (SME)?

A Subject Matter Expert is someone who has collected great knowledge in a particular topic or field. This may be demonstrated by certain diplomas or certificates, but of course, this does not have to be the case. For example, within your organization, someone can be a Subject Matter Expert in the field of a certain computer system or privacy regulations. Within learning and development, it is very helpful to ask these people what knowledge needs to be shared with other employees. But where to start?

subject matter expert

How to involve Subject Matter Experts?

Step 1: Show examples to SME for reference and options

Pictures say more than a thousand words, an old saying which is also applicable for online training. It is very hard to just “explain” options, it is far easier to show the possibilities. That’s why a project which is already rolled-out within the organization is the ideal starting point to explain what e-Learning is, what it can look like, how it works and what is expected of the SME.

Step 2: Explain what kind of time invest you are looking for

Clear planning of the e-learning project ensures that the SME and e-learning creator become good friends. By doing this, it’s clear from the start when the SME should reserve time in its’ agenda to review content or provide input. It is also helpful to provide an estimation of the time required for each of these tasks. When expectations are clear to all parties involved, the collaboration will be easier.

Step 3: Show the return on investment

Creating a learning program with clear explanations takes a lot of time. But above all, show how much time will be saved for the Subject Matter Expert. Because the knowledge is now centrally secured, more employees will be aware of the information. With e-Learning modules, the SME can save a lot of time when onboarding new employees or answering 1-on-1 questions and emails.

Step 4: Use a tool that allows the SME to develop e-Learning

Not all tools are suitable for an SME to get started with. For example, it can be complicated to create e-Learning in the right branding or to make it scalable to all devices. Also, not all Subject Matter Experts know how to transfer knowledge in an effective way. With the FLOWSPARKS authoring tool, all of the above is not a problem. With the templates, everything looks graphically perfect, no technical issues pop up and the didactics are woven into the Learning Formats. In this way, the SME can develop e-Learning independently.

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