April 1 -

Leveraging Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the training environment is a valuable strategy to ensure the training programs are accurate, effective, and relevant.

Here are some tips on how to utilize SMEs in your training process.

  • Identify individuals within the organization with expertise in the subject matter to be covered during training.  This could be specialists or experienced employees.
  • Involve them in the development of the curriculum.  Working together to outline the objectives, content, and the order in which the topics should be covered.
  • Collaborate with the SMEs to create training materials, including presentations, online learning modules, and assessments.  The SMEs are here to provide real-world examples to make the content more relevant.
  • Make sure that the SMEs review and validate all training materials for accuracy and relevance.  They can also verify that the content aligns with the company’s best practices.
  • Their involvement can enhance the learning experience and give the learners access to an expert on that topic.
  • Be sure to have a SME available during training to answer questions and provide clarification for those who may need it.  Providing real-world scenarios will help the learners understand how to apply what they've learned in their daily work.
  • Collaborating with SMEs to develop assessmentsand evaluation criteria can provide realistic scenarios for testing.

Remember that SMEs are only experts on the topic of discussion and may not be familiar with adult learning principles or Bloom's Taxonomy.  Therefore, the expectation should not be to facilitate or train, but to advise on the subject.

This week’s tip is provided by QATC Board Member Tiffany Jefferson of Essendant.   She may be reached at tjefferson@essendant.com