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5 Methods To Get The Most Out Of Your SME

 In eLearning, Instructional Design

Instructional Designers (ID’ers) and Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) often work very closely together on various projects in many capacities and like any relationship, it takes patience, work, and compromise. Here are some SME relationship methods that we use at VALEiRA:

Nonetheless, working with SME’s is always an interesting relationship and you should always try to get some key takeaways that can add to your relationship management strategies with them.

For Instructional Design & eLearning consulting, contact us today. We’re a friendly bunch who loves strategizing in the eLearning realm.

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1) Embrace the SMEs passion. SME, like the name suggests, are experts, and you do not become an expert at something if you are not passionate about it. Therefore, as an ID it can really help if you embrace this passion and use it to create an excellent learning experience.

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2) Do not use too much jargon. If there is one thing ID’s and many technologists are guilty of is using jargon. For example, discussing the importance of alignment between learning objectives, instructional strategies, and assessments. This could be much more easily understood if explained as; what do you want the learners to achieve, what/how will the instruction be learnt, and how will the learners demonstrate mastery of this.

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3) Define roles. There is a reason that an ID is an ID and a SME a SME and it is imperative that you know your role and stick to it throughout the process. Even if you are an ID that knows a lot about the subject matter, this is not your role and vice versa. By defining and agreeing on roles at the beginning of the process you can eliminate or at least reduce the risk of this happening..

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4) Don’t be too imposing. Many times SMEs have their own vision of how the learning will look and feel. If you try to impose your ideas and vision too strongly the chances of the relationship blossoming are slim-to-none. Ease your way in to the relationship and gain the trust of the SME by explaining and demonstrating how and why an approach may be better for the learner.

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5) Remember who benefits. Always remember that the learners are the ones who benefit. Being an ID is mostly ‘behind the scenes’; meaning that we are not the one’s who go up to receive the Oscar. Therefore, take your ego out of the process and focus purely on the learners. This way, your approach and the way you present your ideas to the SME will be with the learner in mind and not based on personal preference.

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Nonetheless, working with SME’s is always an interesting relationship and you should always try to get some key takeaways that can add to your relationship management strategies with them.

For Instructional Design & eLearning consulting, contact us today. We’re a friendly bunch who loves strategizing in the eLearning realm.

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