When you’re developing an elearning course, you may run into a few hiccups throughout the process. One of the most common issues involves subject matter experts (SMEs) — more specifically, a lack of action or slow response from your SME, usually at the most critical stages of elearning development.
If you’ve run into this issue in the past — as most people in the elearning industry have – here are a few guidelines to help you streamline the process and lead to a quickly finished elearning project.
1. Get SMEs More Involved
While it may seem counterintuitive to heavily involve people who are already slowing the process down, there are actually benefits to allowing your SMEs to work more directly with the project. Usually, an SME contributes knowledge to a project, and it’s up to the development team to create the course based off of the SME’s contributions. However, SMEs generally like to review the course throughout the different stages of development. This leads to a lot of emails and phone calls back and forth, often requiring you to upload documents and information, which all takes time and effort — not to mention the amount of time you spend waiting on a response from the SME and vice versa.
Instead of dealing with this frustration, why not allow the SME to contribute directly to the project development by using cloud-based tools and applications? Give your SME access to the project, and they can add new content or edit old content directly, which saves you time. As a bonus, you may also save a little money, since you’ll likely need fewer team members to deal with all the go-between.
If you’re looking for a program that allows you to work with your SME in this way, try using Elucidat. There are also several Master Themes to choose from, which will save you even more time in development. By using these tools, you’re ensuring that everyone has access to the latest version of the project, and there won’t be duplicate versions stored on a computer or server that you can’t reach without going through a middleman.
2. Maintain Communication With SMEs
Whatever you do, keep your SME informed. It’s easy to get bogged down in the development process and forget to inform your SME, but that’s a big mistake. SMEs like to stay in the loop with a project; it makes them feel like they’re part of the team — which they are. SMEs are essential to the success of your project, and they need to know that you trust them enough to keep them informed of the latest changes and developments.
For example, you may set a design schedule at the beginning of the process but change it halfway through. If you don’t let the SME know that the schedule has changed, they may not have their contribution ready. This could easily delay the project by days or even a week. It’s easy to keep your SMEs informed, so make sure you copy them on emails, text or call them when necessary, and let them know about any significant (or minor) changes.
3. Embrace Online Collaboration
Working with SMEs who are slow to respond can be a frustrating process. But you should remember that it may be difficult for them, too. SMEs usually have other full-time jobs or their own businesses to run. It’s quite likely that they’re just as busy as you are — or even more so. They’ll appreciate any steps you can take to make the project simpler and more efficient, especially if it saves them time. That’s why you should streamline your project and communication as much as possible by embracing online collaboration. The traditional methods of transmitting files back and forth (e.g. Word documents, screenshots, zip files, etc.) are outdated and cumbersome when it comes to a large project that involves multiple people. Instead, use Elucidat’s online tools to gather feedback, share information and work together to develop a project quickly — and keep costs down as you do so.
Final Suggestions to Help You Better Involve Subject Matter Experts
- Keep everyone up to date with the latest version of the project. You can easily accomplish this by using an elearning authoring tool that automatically saves data and keeps up with recent changes.
- Sign off on changes within your online tool. Because elearning projects require so many approvals throughout the process, it’s best to do this via your online tool. This helps the project run more smoothly with fewer lags while waiting on approval.
- Use a tool that tracks your changes and reviews. Throughout the project, there will be numerous edits, reviews and notations. Elucidat offers a comment tool that allows users to make quick notes. At a glance, you can easily view these notes, as well as important information, like when changes were made and who made them.
If you want to prevent SME bottlenecks, you may need to make a few changes to your elearning project development process. Once you utilize these tips, though, you’ll notice less lag in your process, better communication from your team and maybe even a decrease in your overall costs.
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