Subject Matter Experts (SME) – who do they think they are?

31 Dec

Subject Matter Experts (SME) are vital sources of information for instructional designers, but at the same time can be frustrating to work with.

Personally I’ve spent hours working with SMEs trying to get across the message that they want to present to their learners – focusing on small details such as bullet points and full-stops.

However, perhaps the time would have been better spent focusing on what they wanted their learners to learn?

This switch in mentality should come from the type of questions we ask SMEs. Rather than asking for all the content they have on a topic, perhaps a better question would be what do you want the learners to learn?

This question leads to others, such as what are the most common errors a new learner makes, and what are the most common scenarios that a learner will face.

The answers to these questions will begin to shape the instructional design for a course, moving from information overload/message perfection to actual learning.

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