Anyone working in Learning and Development will be familiar with the term ‘Subject Matter Expert’ or ‘SME’ for short. Essentially, the term describes an individual who is highly knowledgeable within their area of expertise. As a training company to the gaming industry, we at iFinance Academy, work both with inhouse SMEs, who form part of our full time eLearning and Development Team, and external SMEs, who are leading experts in the Fintech industry.
The SME’s role in creating learning content is vital in the development and ongoing management of effective eLearning courses, and the way we, as Instructional Designers, work with our SMEs is crucial for us to ensure we deliver a high-quality product perfectly curated to suit our target audience’s learning requirements.
When working with industry experts, you must bear in mind they are busy people and being an SME is usually not their primary job. Therefore, being structured and organised in your approach with how you work with an SME, will help to ensure you get the most from their time.
iFinance Academy’s eLearning and Development Team’s top 5 tips on how to work with SMEs:
- Have a kick-off meeting with the SME: this is crucial at the start of any new project and should take place before the SME attempts to draft any course content on the subject area. Essentially, the kick-off stage, is where both instructional designer and SME align their thoughts, ensuring all stakeholders are on the same page and have a clear end goal in mind.
- Set timeframes: Putting timeframes in place is beneficial for both the Instructional Designer, as it helps ensure the project stays on track, and the SME, as they will be able to schedule time into their busy workflow.
- Establish the course ‘blueprint’: it is good practice to ask the SME to detail the course outline of the training, i.e., each section and sub-section to be covered in the training. This serves two purposes: 1. it ensures no miscommunication has happened during the kick-off meeting and 2. it gives the opportunity to provide any suggestions on the course outline before the SME goes ahead and starts drafting the full course.
- Digest the content: your knowledge may not be as extensive as the SME on the subject, so it is important to get 100% comfortable with the learning content before starting the storyboard. Identify any uncertainties you may have and schedule a call with the SME to go over your queries.
- Allow time for feedback to be given: the SMEs involvement does not stop once they hand over the course content. They should also be included in the final review of the product, so that they can give their feedback on how the content flows as an eLearning course and can ensure the meaning of the course content has not altered when re-designed during the storyboard stage.
For us at iFinance Academy, putting the above tips into practice coupled with SMEs who have proven experience and come highly qualified in their domain, is how we have been successful in positioning ourselves as the leading training provider to the Fintech industry by delivering compliance training that is relevant to our clients’ operational requirements.
Contact us to learn about our suite of compliance courses.