SME's Guide to Adult Learning Principles
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Congratulations, you're a subject matter expert (SME) for a training project and tasked to collaborate on the development of an e-learning course! This means you'll likely be partnering with an instructional designer or an e-learning developer to complete the project.
Did you know there's a sure-fire way to maximize your value as a collaborator and positively impact the outcome of the training project? This simple guide has what you need to know to help support the needs of adult learners.
Your Role as a SME
SMEs are usually called in to help in the training development process to be the experts on the content and the learning audience (usually the employees). As a SME, one of your tasks is to help identify the goals you're all trying to reach through the training, as well as the motivations of the learners.
You may also be able to explain the typical trainee's previous knowledge that may help or hinder learning. And you can even help the instructional designer understand realistic scenarios that the learners face on their job so these can be incorporated into the training.
Finally, you may even assist with learning activities and assessments and help sort out content that's most important to the learners, the WIIFMs (or what's in it for me), so the training team can help learners realize these benefits. All of these contributions are essential to meeting the needs of adult learners.
The role of instructional designers is to ensure the needs of adult learners are reflected in the training materials they design and develop. Your role as a stakeholder in a training project is to work collaboratively with the instructional designer and the rest of the development team to realize the organization's goals for the training project, so you should understand some of the reasoning for the training methods used.
Using Adult Learning Principles
One of the most important concepts for business training is that it should be based on Adult Learning Principles. By incorporating these principles in your training, the course design and content are better aligned to ensure trainees will learn what they need, so let's think about adult learning principles and how these can be applied to the training you help develop.
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You probably have a good idea of what you like and don't like about training, but do you know why? The best training takes into consideration what adults need from their learning experience. If you're a Subject Matter Expert (or know someone who is!), be sure to grab this free PDF to make the learning development project far richer and more robust for your employee trainees.