An SME Guide: Create an Outstanding Online Course with Expert Collaboration

Congratulations on your new role as a subject matter expert (SME) in developing an online course! Working on an online course can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, but if you’re new to it, you may not know what to expect. This article provides a guide to working with an instructional designer (ID) and suggests questions you can ask your instructional design team to help you better understand your role in the development process. As online courses are becoming increasingly popular, understanding how to work with a instructional designer is essential for creating a successful course.

At Construct, we believe all SMEs are critical to the success of the course development process and our instructional designers work hand-in-hand with them to help make the experience a wonderful and fulfilling one.

Here are some tips to guide you on your journey in the successful development of an online course.

1. What Is My Role?

Your role as SME is indispensable in the development of the course and the success of the course depends on your content and knowledge. This is the first and most important thing an instructional designer (ID) needs you to provide in order to design a great online course. Among other tasks, the instructional design team will ask you to provide and develop content, review, and sign off on learner-facing content, join meetings to collaborate, and share updates throughout the development of the course. This may sound daunting. The first piece of advice is to make sure you know what you’re signing up for. Ask the ID what they expect from you and make sure that you are comfortable with it.

2. What Is Learner-facing Content?

Learner-facing content refers to anything that a learner will have access to when taking the online course. This might be course materials in the form of readings, videos, interactive learning tools, discussion forums, as well as assessments like quizzes, essays, or projects. The learning team will ask you for this material and possibly transform some of it in accordance with instructional design principles, to ensure learner engagement in the course.

3. How Much of My Time Will This Take and When?

It is not lost on instructional designers just how busy their faculty members are. Between lectures, writing papers, curriculum planning, grading, etc., making time to develop an online course may feel overwhelming at first. It is important not to underestimate how much time it takes to develop an online course, however, if you share the following information with the instructional design team, they will help manage the workflow and ensure everyone works together efficiently and effectively:

  • How much time do you need to develop the content—days, weeks, or months?
  • How much time can you dedicate to the project daily or weekly?
  • When is convenient for you to meet?
  • How would you prefer to communicate and what response time can the team expect?

It is important to consider the time that you have, within your own working context, to dedicate to the course. The more information you provide, the better the team can plan and work with you to reach deadlines set by the instructional design team.

4. How Do I Work With an Instructional Designer?

The learning design process is one of collaboration between you and the learning team. It is a good idea to be open to different ways of presenting your course content, offer any suggestions if you have them, and allow IDs to work their magic, you will be pleasantly surprised! It is an experience that blends your expertise and the best ways to present your content.

5. What if I Have Questions?

If you have questions, please ask! You may feel overwhelmed by the EdTech jargon, the processes you will need to follow, or what’s being asked of you. If at any point you are uncertain about something, ask your ID. They are known to be a friendly and supportive bunch, and will happily assist you with anything they can.

These were just a few basic points to help orient yourself to your role as an SME on an online course development project. The process of developing a course can be a challenging experience, but it is always a rewarding one. Now that you have a better understanding of working with an instructional designer as a subject matter expert, it’s time to take the next step in creating an outstanding online course. Reach out to an instructional designer and begin the collaboration process today! Remember, the success of the course depends on your content and knowledge. By working together, you can create an engaging and effective learning experience for your students.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the process of developing an online course, don’t hesitate to reach out to a learning experience design company like Construct for support. With our expertise, we can help guide you through the process and ensure that your course is designed to meet the needs of your learners.

Contact Construct today to learn more about how we can assist you with your online course development project.

Image by DCStudio on Freepik

This blog post is made available by the author for educational purposes only and to provide general information. All views expressed are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever, to which they have been, are now, or will be affiliated. If you have a specific problem related to this topic and need advice, contact Construct Education directly.

Share This Post