Communicating changes with SMEs

Oct 18, 2011

How do your SMEs communicate changes back to you after they review a module?  I haven't found an easy way to have them communicate back.  I often get an email back with a list of slides by title and the changes typed out, which is very time consuming for them and not always clear for me.  I'm not always in the same building as them, so it's not easy for them to stop by to talk or drop off slide printouts with changes hand written, but there's got to be an easier way!  Ideas?  What works?  What doesn't?

12 Replies
Kevin Dowd

Hi Kate,

I create an outline for my smes.  The downside is that it is a long process to put together, and then depending on the situation you will have to maintain 2 versions.  The upside is that you can turn on track changes, so they can go in, make their changes, which are then easy for you to find and understand.

To do this: In the left of your ppt screen you have "slides" and "outline."  Switch from "slides" to "outline" and then copy and paste into a word document.  Then, go into each of your engages and quizes, and when you publish you will see an outline form.  AFTER you do all of them (if you try to copy and paste as you go word will crash - or at least it will for me) copy and paste everything together.  I then create a TOC so it isn't a monster to navigate through.

Kate Hoelscher

Interesting...hadn't thought of using the outline.  However--how do you get an outline from the published Word quizes and Engage files?  I only have a storyboard with images of each slide from each step when I publish.  (and yes..I have the same problem.  If Word is open while publishing Engage or Quizmaker to Word it will crash!)

Pam Jones

I have found that good old Excel works. Create a review form; where SME simply gives slide number, title, category of query e.g. graphic, onscreen text, audio, then document the changes.

We have three rounds of SME reviewsplus QA review and peer review so a sheet is created per review in the form.  Might seem long winded but I've used it for several years and seems to work..keeps all the changes together and there is log and audit of all reviews together. Also useful in case SME changes their mind again about something. You can go back to them and say an earlier review this was decided....evidence.

Here's the review form I use

Natalia Mueller

What works really well for me is to keep the SMEs active during the content development phase (their area of expertise), but they have nothing to do with the look/feel/layout of the actual course. That's my area of expertise. I present it tactfully, of course, but it saves me a LOT of time and frustration to keep the two separate. 

All outlines and scripts are sent back and forth via Word and the review tools it has available. I usually have another person beyond the SME that has final sign off power. So once the SME and I get the script to the final version, I send it to the stakeholder to see if there are any final changes that need to be made before I develop the course. I do give the stakeholder a few different templates/color schemes to choose from just so they feel they have some say and input. It's also easy to work in their preferences from the beginning and then they already feel committed to the end result. 

From the beginning, we all work together with the understanding that if time matters (and it always does) I can't be making extensive changes once I start building slides and recording audio. So all of their feedback and edits only exist in the script phase. Then the only changes that will be made in the end product is if there is a critical error- something that is outright WRONG. I get this agreement from them at the start of every project. 

I have found that this makes them very committed to developing the content and script. They also take the final sign off very seriously. For me, it's completely worth it. I'd rather do re-work on the writing side any day. Of course there is some more to it, but I don't want to write a book here.  Best of luck to you!

Steven Leibensperger

Similar to Natalia, our storyboards are created in Word (Outline view).  As the SME's review the content, the Track Changes feature is active.  This allows us to capture everything from minor punctuation changes to deletions and even thoughts/comments.

When reviewing the created course, we send the SME's a Word document we specifically created to capture comments.  There's a basic checklist section for things such as button functionality, spelling, grammar, appropriate graphics, audio clarity, etc.  Then there is another section for general comments. 

It's pretty basic, but it's worked wonderfully so far. 

Brenda Heilman

Hi Kate--

We've found that using an online wiki works wonderfully for our review purposes.  I put a link to our draft course (which includes slide numbers) in the wiki & set it to open in a new window.  We all have dual monitors so, we can view the course on one monitor, making comments in the wiki on the other monitor. 

This way, the review comments can still be protected from the general public, but reviewers can see what previous reviewers requested and what was done with all of the requests.  It's a way to keep an 'always current' document available. And, we can print it to .pdf  when needed.  I usually create a .pdf when the reviews are done and the course goes live--I can then save it with the rest of the course development files in case we need to know why we made a certain change.

We use, but there are several options.  Here's an image of one of our wikis so you can get the idea:

Doreen Rambke-Hartz

I use a template in MS word similiar to the one posted by Pam.  I create sections by major topic and have columns labeled:

  • slide
  • Edit / Comment
  • Reviewer
  • Able to do edit?

I add a column labeled "able to do the edit" because it helps as I'm reviewing through their feedback to mark if it's something I'm able to do and can identify who I need to get back to regarding something we can't create in PPT / Presenter.

I also mark at the top to indicate "nice to have" edits in bold as sometimes reviewers will mark things that are more of a wish list than things they can't live without. 

John Brindle

Hi Kate,

It might be worth looking at the SAM development framework. I'm currently implementing it at my place of work, it's a big change, but keeps everybody informed throughout the process.

I've worked at providing iterative updates to SMEs to (a) keep them involved in the development process and (b) make sure that changes are flagged really early on. There is a constant cycle of testing and development until the project is finally ready for release.

It helps to ensure that content changes are spotted in early stages of development as we had a few issues where massive content changes were needed at the end of a project timeline!

Using any of the tools people have provided above (which are super-cool!) plus an Agile development framework will ensure that you don't overload SMEs or the development team!


This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.