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eLearning Project Management & Subject Matter Experts


May 27, 2021



eLearning Project Management & Subject Matter Experts

A few blog entries ago we took upon the topic of Subject Matter Experts and their roles and responsibilities within the company structures. We looked at their competencies and requirements relevant to the job and the successful fulfillment of their many tasks. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) partake in the management of eLearning projects: what kind of expertise do they bring to the table? What stages of the projects do they supervise? How are eLearning projects designed to align with the company goals and business strategies? Finally, how subject matter experts collaborate with other departments and L&D team members to pull off the best results and bring the company forward.

The Vital Role of Subject Matter Experts

Let us begin with a short reminder of what Subject Matter Experts are. A Subject Matter Expert is situated on the nexus between the business, the strategic side of the company, and skill management among the workforce. In short, SMEs design, supervise, and assess the skillset and institutional knowledge of the employees making sure that everyone knows everything they need to achieve the company’s goals. SMEs are experts in any given field, who lend their competence to monitor the correlation between the business strategies and their implementation through human resources. In other words, the responsibilities of the SME are to ensure the facts and details are correct so that the project/program’s deliverable(s) will meet the needs of the stakeholders, legislation, policies, standards, and best practices.

the vital role of subject matter experts

The Importance of Subject Matter Experts in Project Management

Subject Matter Experts are indispensable for the successful running of the company, even more so in the context of big international corporations. They design and outline the standards by which the procedures should be conducted, and predict the long-term results and the possible pitfalls of the strategies. They have excellent communication skills as an important part of their job is to translate between, often far apart, departments making sure they abide by the company policies and align with the rules to provide the best results. They provide advice and feedback for all departments, both carrying messages and through their specialized input. Therefore, although often remaining independent atoms within the company’s structure, the department they probably work closest with is Learning and Development. It is there, where general business strategies and company goals are being converted into manageable projects and tasks, equipped with the concrete skillset, range of competencies, and knowledge requirements. It is also there, where the eLearning projects, one of the main tools to improve the employees’ expertise is being designed. Oftentimes, it’s the SME who manages them.

importance of subject matter experts in project management

As experts in the field, Subject Matter Experts are actively involved in designing and implementing the learning projects and evaluating their outcomes. Think about the employee training programs in your company – determining what’s necessary, how to outsource the field experts, providing a good learning environment (do we go for blended-learning or fully online?), clear guidelines, and expected results fall on the SME and the instructional designer from the L&D department. Quite a handful? Luckily today some of those responsibilities can be handed over to external companies providing complex eLearning development services. No more stuffy rooms, weak coffee, and worries of being late for training. eLearning platforms such as SC Training (formerly EdApp) can deliver fully-fledged learning solutions answering the needs of your team. With a comprehensive free course library, SC Training (formerly EdApp) also lends a helping hand in preparing teaching materials in subjects spanning from retail through hospitality to transport and communication. Moreover, thanks to the free access to its simple and intuitive cloud-based authoring tools, SC Training (formerly EdApp) gives users the possibility to create their courses with professional-looking instructional design in minutes. Thanks to fully customizable templates and a user-friendly interface, creating beautiful, informative content has never been easier. 

Using eLearning Platforms in Project Management

Thanks to online learning platforms, managing eLearning projects is simple and straightforward. SC Training (formerly EdApp) is a learning platform that allows you an overview of all the teaching materials, eLearning courses, presentations, and results circulating among the employees. Through its white-label properties and SCORM software compliance, SC Training (formerly EdApp) can also be incorporated into the existing company communication platform with ease, especially if you have online courses on other platforms. Additionally, SC Training (formerly EdApp) provides a feedback feature, which allows for ongoing supervision of the corporate learning progress. The digital and technological literacy of the SC Training (formerly EdApp) team ensures, that the newest learning activities and techniques are being incorporated into the toolkit available to all users. Gamification, microlearning, mobile learning, spaced repetition, quizzes – when it’s about making digital learning fun, simple, and accessible, SC Training (formerly EdApp) has you covered.

Using eLearning Platforms in Project Management


Although technological advancements and digitalization of most of the learning process have been made easier, the role of SMEs in managing the eLearning project has remained challenging. Communication is key here – SMEs must be constantly kept in the loop regarding the latest amendments, changes, and hiccups. In short, SMEs remain the brain behind the machine. They define, design, and curate the training program: they point out the flaws of the current work performance, outline the path to improve it, and determine tools, methods, and material composition to achieve their goal. Once the design is finished, they implement and supervise (with the use of online training tools), the efficiency of the program in the testing phase, applying improvements if necessary. Curation ends when the actual results match the desired. Only then can the program be introduced to the workforce; however, it still requires monitoring and guidance, and finally a follow-up with the stakeholders to measure the success of the program.

The role of SMEs in the management of eLearning projects is pivotal. To be sure they do not dabble in every task every step of the way, but their expertise, counseling, and guidance set the trajectory of the learning and development programs in the company. To be sure, the introduction of online learning tools into corporate eLearning has made the work of SMEs much more efficient, though they remain indispensable providing competency, drive, and creative influence to the learning process.

You might also find these helpful:

SME Role (Subject Matter Expert Role)

Subject Matter Experts & Training


Guest Author Marta Rudnicka

Marta Rudnicka is a creative content writer with vast experience in writing, editing, translation, and data analysis. Aside from writing, their interests are centered on mental health, human rights, travel, and environmental concerns.

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