- Understand learner profiles
- Create curriculums, course outlines, storyboards
- Review developed content for accuracy etc etc
In my experience as an instructional designer I have had experiences with SMEs from different domains.
My first experience was to create learning content for the aviation industry. My company bagged contracts from several aviation majors like Airbus, Finnair, Snecma, Saudi Arabian etc. Here we worked on courses for audiences like cabin crew, pilots, flight dispatchers, maintenance personnel. In this industry our SMEs would be persons with aviation & training backgrounds. Working for this industry was fairly simple in one way that the syllabi or curriculums for each type of audience is globally standard with the existence of the FAA and JAA (Flight Aviation Authority and Joint Aviation Authority).
A typical process we followed to:
- Derive the course/curriculum outlines from customer requirements and standard recommended syllabi.
- Create lesson plans for each lesson defined in the course consisting of the course objectives, lesson objectives, key teaching points
- Develop storyboards based on the the lesson plans.
My second experience was with working for a products company where the client and SMEs would be in-house. This is a place where i first experienced working on highly technical products and the experience was truly worthwhile. The experience with SMEs was significantly different from my previous experience. Here we had to respect SME time as SMEs were part of the same organization and had their own targets to achieve.
Here we came across several kinds of SME profiles consisting of product managers, engineering team members/managers, professional consultants, QA, documentation persons and instructors. Each kind of SME can provide specific inputs related to their job which can in turn add more value to the courses and curriculum.
Here the task was to :
- Analyze audience needs
- Perform task analysis
- Create curriculums and come up with learning tracks
- Come up with business scenarios and use cases
- Design course outlines and develop storyboards
Once again all this is done by soliciting inputs from SMEs. Hence the role of a SME very clearly critical for the technical accuracy of course content, while an instructional designers role is conducive to the instructional quality, structure and flow of the training.
The only other perspective I see is that if IDs are expected to learn and become product experts and trainers, then they have to choose between being a training solution provider for different training domains, and graduating to be subject matter experts themselves! This is a tough choice sometimes....