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If you’ve ever created an eLearning course, you’ve experienced the challenge of chasing down your SMEs to get their feedback. All too often, SMEs will promise to get you their feedback in a timely manner, and all too often, they break that promise.

In my experience, I’ve found that most SMEs underestimate their level of involvement in the development of an eLearning course. They often assume their job is to provide the content on the front-end and then approve the final course on the back-end. They don’t realize they have to review the course at each stage of development. And the truth is, the onus is on us, as eLearning developers, to make the review process as simple as possible—especially if we want that feedback on-time!

Here are three simple tips for getting on-time SME feedback on your eLearning courses.

Schedule Review Time on Your SME's Calendar

Get on-time SME feedback by scheduling review time on your SMEs calendar.

We all know that SMEs are busy folks. In addition to the time you’re asking them to dedicate to the development and review of your eLearning course, SMEs also have full-time jobs to attend to!

Make it easier to get SME feedback on your eLearning course by sending a calendar invite (with a link to the course) for dedicated review time. This invite isn’t meant for you to meet with them to review your course, but rather to help your SMEs dedicate a block of time to reviewing the course on their own. It can also be helpful to draft an eLearning project plan and development timeline (or use a dedicated eLearning project management tool) to keep track of review cycles and due dates.

Conduct a Live Review Session

Get on-time SME feedback by conducting a live review session.

One of the most efficient ways to manage an eLearning review cycle is to do it in-person. This lets you hear directly from the mouths of your SMEs to fully understand their feedback, ask questions, and make quick decisions regarding the edits provided.

Make it easier to get SME feedback on your eLearning course by conducting a live review session. Send your SMEs a link to review your eLearning course, followed by an invite to meet and discuss their feedback a few days later. This will force your SMEs to review the course in preparation for the live review meeting.

Provide an Estimated Time to Review

Get on-time SME feedback by providing an estimated time to review your eLearning course.

It’s easy for your SMEs to overestimate how much time it will take them to review your eLearning course. Because of this, they will often procrastinate the task of reviewing your eLearning course in favor of their other, less time-consuming duties.

Make it easier to get SME feedback on your eLearning course by providing an estimated time to review. When you send your course for your SMEs to review, include how much time it should take to review. If your SMEs know upfront they only need to invest 15 to 20 minutes reviewing your course, they will be more likely to knock it out.

The Bottom Line

While it can be frustrating when your SMEs are late with their feedback, if you employ the simple strategies I explained in this post, you’ll have a better chance of getting the feedback you need, when you need it!

If you’d like to learn more about managing your eLearning projects, check out this post.

What other tips do you have for getting on-time feedback from your SMEs? Share them by commenting below!

Tim Slade

Hi, I’m Tim Slade, and I’m a speaker, author, and founder of The eLearning Designer's Academy. Having spent the last decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content, I have been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for my creative and innovative design aesthetics. I’m also a regular speaker at international eLearning conferences, a LinkedIn Learning instructor, and author of The eLearning Designer’s Handbook.

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