Best Practices?: Worksheets for SMEs

Dec 12, 2011


At DevLearn there was some talk of creating worksheets for SMEs to populate.

This would make production much easier for both me and my SMEs, because there is a very specific structure that my courses need to follow.

I have already created a very simple worksheet for them to populate for the outline, so by the time they get to this " course draft worksheet" they will already have a general idea of their direction.  Of course, the outline worksheet would coorelate to the course draft worksheet.

I've looked at storyboards so that gives me a basic idea of what I need, but I want it to be cleaner and more clear than most of what I've seen since I'm not using it internally but rather to prompt the non-designer.

Has anyone had experience with creating these types of worksheets for their SMEs to populate?  If so, what did you find worked well; what didn't work?

Many thanks,


2 Replies
Ivan Hernandez

Hi Heidi,

Your SME need to take ownership of the worksheets process/requirement. Schedule a call with them and walk them through the process on how to complete and return the worksheet to you. Ensure everybody is on the same boat with regards what is required and date you need them back. Overemphasis this requirement via email after the call and two days prior send a friendly email reminder.

Make them owners of your process always reminding them that it is crucial for the success of the project. Be clear on deadlines. Be open on improving your process if SME fail to complete or return the worksheets on time. Keep in mind that most of the time SMEs have hectic schedules, talk and walk in circles and might no have a systematic approach for design or development.

Di van Santen

I've been using PowerPoint slides as a storyboard with SMEs. It helps them to take ownership of the course objectives and content outline in a linear way and if you use slide view, you can see things quite well as ideas take shape. I work in Community Services where SMEs love to talk using 'stream-of-conscoiusness' so it can be hard to pin them down to planning and sequencing their ideas. Sometimes SMEs already have their own basic PowerPoint Presentation which can be a good starting point.

We are also starting (when possible) in face-to-face meetings, to use PowerPoint on a smartboard where ideas can be brainstormed and captured, added to and moved around directly. 

I use the concept of 'books' and 'chapters' represented by different colours to encourage organised thinking. I'm about to use paper cards representing 'books' and 'chapters' which in a round-table situation can be scribbled on, grouped and physically moved around as the ideas evolve and then transferred onto PowerPoint slides afterwards.

I have also started using the attached Development Agreement (adjusted according to the organisation) to pin down aspects of the project.

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