Using a SME to "host" your training - example

I've always liked the technique of using a host/instructor to put a human face on training presentations. On my last project I had the good fortune of working with a fun, well-spoken subject matter expert. Using lots of photos and video I decided to let him deliver the training and let his quirky personality show through.

MSHA46.com | Hazard Communication

Do you ever use individuals (SME's or actors) to "host" your training lessons?

28 Replies
cindy andruss

Bruce Oberle said:

Andy.... Great module! As I'll mention again in summary, I would love to see a lot more "personalization" in eLearning.

This is a passionate area of interest for me due to a number of reasons and I hope my own biases won't substantially filter the opinions of others- which I'm interested to see. I was originally a Public Television producer/talent (early 1980's) turned Industrial Video Producer for training videos (late 1980's) turned training facilitator for 18 years, and now doing both direct delivery and talent (voice over/on-camera) for eLearning.

The following comments are offered for developers in general, not a critique of your example ! ! !

Let me start with the WARNINGS: First and foremost we should remember what the ultimate purpose is....engaging the learner and transferring knowledge. Back in the day of expensive and incredibly technical video production, people routinely overused the latest effects (eye candy) thinking it was cutting edge. Much of the equipment was sold to producers and production facilities by appealing to those very egos.  Today, the principles of good production remain the same.... over use of anything becomes a distraction to the purpose and cheapens/weakens the project. I think almost everyone would agree with me that little-out of scale-green screen- people walking around a web page is just plain cheezy!

When it comes to narration or video, choosing the right person is a significant decision. They don't need to be a professional talent!  In the case of SME's it might be someone in the organization/industry who is very credible and respected, and has a passion for what they do They WILL however, need to be comfortable and natural in their "delivery". They don't need to appear (motion or still) in every slide. Again, over-use misses the message. A warm greeting, spots where some chit-chat can help frame up what's to come, to transition topics, to REALLY emphasize a critical point, and a sincere conclusion/call to action/ thank you, are appropriate uses.

And now the PLEA!  One of the valid issues around a lot of  eLearning over the years, is it lacks a personal or human connection. In the training environment a passionate instructor transfers the emotion, not just the information, around the topic. Every seasoned professional in our industry will tell you that in order for training to stick, it has to make an emotional connection.

The equipment to shoot and software to edit is dirt cheap and easier to use by the month. Not as easy are the techniques to imbed these files into the project but those willing to share their expertise (as most members of this community are) can help all of us elevate the quality and results of our efforts to serve our learners and stakeholders.

I would love to see advancements in adding this dimension. Additionally, just as developing the skill of public speaking has often been recommended I would encourage ANYONE to develop "camera comfort" as part of their professional skills.


Thank you sharing!  I'm hadn't thought of "camera comfort" as something I could develop.  But, it makes sense with virtual classrooms and video becoming more popular.