6 Insider Secrets To Find The Best Subject Matter Expert For Your Next eLearning Project

6 Insider Secrets To Find The Best Subject Matter Expert For Your Next eLearning Project
Summary: Are you getting the most out of your Subject Matter Expert relationship? If you aren’t collaborating, then your Subject Matter Expert may not be able to uphold their end of the bargain. In this article, I’ll share 7 insider secrets to find the best Subject Matter Expert and form a successful partnership.

How To Find The Best Subject Matter Expert For Your Next eLearning Project

Your Subject Matter Expert can make or break your eLearning project. You must take the time to build up a respectful, two-way dialogue with your Subject Matter Expert. Otherwise, you will never complete in time, if at all. Subject Matter Experts should form a vital part of the eLearning team and be given priority for communication and relationship building. So, how do you find the best Subject Matter Expert? How do you ensure you have their dedication and time commitment? Take the time to be honest and open in your initial discussions, and you’ll lay the foundations for success.

Finding The Best Subject Matter Expert

Your Subject Matter Expert could be anyone, in any department. It’s just that one person who has the most knowledge or skill in a particular topic. What they will provide is content, as well as the insight and understanding you need to create your eLearning course. But you need to ask questions and go through a process of selection, to make sure the Subject Matter Expert is the right fit for your eLearning project. You may need to look more widely than you might have expected.

1. Make Sure You’ve Really Found The Expert

Check their background and experience to make sure that they have all the content knowledge you need. You should also set up a meeting to go beyond what’s on their resume. Does their personality mesh with you and your eLearning team? Are they able to articulate their expertise and carry themselves professionally during the interview?

2. Consider Time Constraints

Time commitment will dictate who can be available to support the eLearning project. Be realistic when discussing deadlines and availability. If you are getting a lot of resistance regarding scheduling constraints, you may need to reconsider. There should also be enough wiggle room in their agenda for unexpected tasks. For example, towards the end of the eLearning project, you realize that you need to expand the eLearning course to include overlooked takeaways. Will the Subject Matter Expert be able to stay on to help you make the additions? Or is their schedule so tight that they don’t have even a day to spare between projects?

3. Be Clear About What Level Of Knowledge Is To Be Delivered

Understand whether the Subject Matter Expert is able to deliver complex technical content. You’ll need to find the right person who accepts that this will require substantial face-time. You should also verify their credentials when necessary. For example, do they have certifications or degrees that help them stand out from the other candidates? How many eLearning projects have they worked on in the past?

4. Give Them An Example Of A Similar eLearning Course

Your potential Subject Matter Expert should be given an idea of what to expect. Just because they are an expert on the subject does not mean they are also experts in eLearning. Provide them with an example of similar eLearning courses and ask them to evaluate the content. For example, what would they change about the eLearning course, and are there any key points the eLearning developers missed? You can also invite them to develop their own sample online training module or activity.

5. Be Clear About What They Will Provide

Do you expect them to write the whole script? Or just provide raw materials and ideas? Maybe something in between? Make sure you can agree on this commitment so that timelines are realistic. That way, the Subject Matter Expert doesn’t feel like they’re doing more than what’s in the contract. Likewise, you get exactly what you bargained for.

6. Consider Involving More Than One Subject Matter Expert

You may find that time or content demands more than one Subject Matter Expert. Don’t be afraid of using Subject Matter Experts from different areas to enrich the content. Just be crystal clear on what each is expected to provide. It’s also wise to have them meet up from time to time to compare notes and ensure there aren’t any redundancies.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Subject Matter Expert Relationship

As you work together with your Subject Matter Expert, it’s important that there is an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. You will both have demanding deadlines and you will need to work around this. More to the point:

  • The eLearning developer and Subject Matter Expert need to partner and work collaboratively.
  • You should establish clear expectations and be specific with your questions. Subject Matter Experts are usually in demanding jobs with little time to dedicate to the eLearning course development. You may need to be flexible and work around their schedule.
  • Subject Matter Experts will be rewarded with an eLearning course they can be proud of having a collaborative role in developing. It’s your job to make sure everyone is aware of their contribution.
  • Subject Matter Experts can help with terminology, as well as setting the context for the training. Make the most of this ability to enrich your content and never dismiss their revisions or suggestions.
  • Project manage the Subject Matter Expert closely, giving them clear deliverables and milestones. Involve them as an integral part of the eLearning team.

As you build your eLearning team, don’t be afraid to ask your Subject Matter Expert questions. You need to make sure you have the best Subject Matter Expert to help deliver your impactful, engaging eLearning course. They need to be aware of everything they are expected to commit. It’s the best way to manage everyone’s expectations in terms of availability, timing, and deliverables. Make your Subject Matter Expert aware of how vital they are to the success of the eLearning project. Make sure everyone involved knows exactly who has made this knowledge transfer possible. Give them every credit you can. Set them up for success and you’ll build your eLearning project for success at the same time.

So you ’ve found the best Subject Matter Expert for your eLearning project, but how much do you really know about the challenges they have to face? Read the article 4 Obstacles Subject Matter Experts Face On A Regular Basis to discover the obstacles that your Subject Matter Expert may face on a regular basis and make their life a bit easier.