Working with a content expert

Throughout all of these steps in the learning design process, one of the greatest challenges for a learning designer is not having the subject matter expertise to inform their work. This is where content writers or experts are important. However, very often the content person will know a great deal about the subject matter and may even be a great teacher, but they may know nothing about writing, learning design, learning resources, learning objects or online learning. It is the learning designer's job to work closely with the content expert and extrapolate the information they need to populate the storyboard.

Many strategies can be employed to do this, including:

  • Ghost writing - having the content expert explain the topics and then write the content on their behalf.
  • Remodelling existing delivery resources - asking the content expert to gather existing resources they use in their teaching and modify them to suit the learning design.
  • Developing a template - so content experts can write on their own, based on the chosen learning design.

The method chosen will depend on the skills of the content expert, the time available, their location and a range of other factors. What is important, however, is to get details about how the topic is taught either in the classroom, in practical tasks or on-the-job. It's a good idea to develop a tool you can use to get those finer details from the content expert and then work with them in the storyboard phase.