Helping SMEs create better training

Many organizations rely on their subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop in-house training because they know the content inside and out. Yet, they are rarely versed in instructional design (ID). So how do you make sure their training is both effective and engaging? Here are some tips.

Provide Basic Instructional Design Training to SMEs

Understanding the basics of instructional design is important for training designers. ID is the art of crafting a learning experience in a way that will be the most engaging and meaningful for the learner. There’s a lot involved in ID, such as separating need-to-know from nice-to-know information, writing effectively, and choosing appropriate quiz types for the specific audience.

You can’t expect your SMEs to become ID professionals overnight, or even in a week. But you can help them grasp the basic concepts if you give them a bit of time to read through the following articles:

Establish Design Guidelines

You can also help your SMEs by providing design standards or guidelines. Your SMEs are probably not graphic designers, so give them a helping hand to make sure everything looks and feels right.

  • Give SMEs access to templates, logos, fonts, photos, and everything else that’s available at the company. Why reinvent the wheel or spend time looking for a photo you already own? Check with your marketing or design teams.
  • Create a sample course that looks great and use it as a guide or template. Make the sample course easily accessible.
  • Create a simple document with screenshots and high-level guidelines for the look and feel. This document can include fonts and colors to use, and screenshots of how certain slides or activities should look.
  • Consider creating a custom player skin with appropriate colors and logo, and share the .XML file with all SMEs developing training to ensure consistency. This works in Articulate Storyline 1 and 2, as well as in Articulate Studio ’13. (Read more: Sharing Player Templates and Color Schemes in Storyline.)

Here are a few more helpful articles:

Have a Solid Review Process

A thorough review process is critical if you want to create solid solid e-learning content. It catches spelling mistakes, inaccuracies, navigation and design mistakes, and more. Don’t skip this step; making sure you have a documented process in place will greatly improve your final output.

Do you have additional tips or comments about having SMEs develop training? If you do, leave a comment; we love to hear from you!

Follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.

Be the first to comment