Thursday, September 3, 2009

Subject Matter Expert's(SME) & Instructional Designer's (ID) Working together

The big question on the Learning Circuit this month is about Working with Subject Matter Experts. This is an interesting subject for me as often I have been both the Instructional Designer and the Subject Matter Expert and the roles can clash with each other. As the Subject Matter Expert I want to make sure that all the "necessary" information is presented as I would present it in an in-person class however, as an Instructional Designer I know that there are things that need to be changed in order to present an interesting and engaging course that people will actually watch and learn from.

When I've worked with other SMEs to create eLearning and I've been the ID it has been interesting to step back and replay the conversations that we have. As I am looking at the materials from a design perspective the SME is looking at it from the content perspective. These two perspectives can work together, however, I think that each side needs to educate the other on the perspective that they are coming from. For example, recently I was working with a SME on a project and we were reviewing the first draft of what I'd put together from his materials. Overall he liked the project, however, he didn't understand were some of his information was included and how learners would know to find it. He was wanting more of a "page turner" experience where I was proposing more of a learner based interactive experience where they were in control of what they learned. After explaining the purpose behind the design and listening to his concerns about the information being included we came to a compromise and what I feel is an interactive course that will provide ample information on the topic. This was a success since both sides were willing to listen and ultimately the learner benefits.

I think that both of the sides of this relationship are necessary and they can work together to produce quality eLearning programs that will benefit the end user.

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