When was the last time you checked in with a SME for a course after it has gone live? Can you even find the SME for all your courses?

Believe it or not, you’re not the only one who has a tough time tracking down your SMEs. It happens all the time in all sorts of organizations. You’ve both done a ton of work to get a project off the ground and running, and as soon as things go live, it’s easy to go your separate ways. But this is one of the most critical points in your project’s implementation: the evaluation. (Remember the “E” in ADDIE?) And the “E” means more than just checking to see if learners actually learned the content. Your SME will be a key point person in the process of evaluating your content over time and deciding when to make updates.

Here are four tips you can use to connect with your SMEs and keep your course material up to date.

Plan for content sustainability before the course launches. What can you do before the project ends to keep in touch?

  • Decide in advance when to re-evaluate the course. This may depend on how fast you expect the content to change, and what other activities may be in process (like budgeting cycles, product cycles, etc.).
  • Build SME interaction or question-gathering into the course. It may be as simple as the ability for users to email questions, or a focus group among learners. Ready for the really cutting edge stuff? Host a social learning platform where discussions about the content take place and include the SME in the conversation.

Include the SME in the learner evaluation process. Here are some important things to address as you both sit down after the “go live”:

  • Share evaluation feedback and updates from actual learners. What trends do you see among the feedback? Do you see any common threads in the comments or questions?
  • Look at the numbers. Have enrollment rates gone up? Are more people completing the training compared to before? Have more people passed the training? Are people finishing the course?
  • Measure workplace performance. Are people more knowledgeable about the task at hand? Is there a noticeable improvement in workplace performance?
  • Review learners’ satisfaction. What have they said about the training? What do your Level 1 evaluations say?

Invite your SMEs to continue their teaching informally.

  • Ask the SME to speak at conferences, training sessions, and events where learners will be gathered.
  • Include articles and blog posts from SMEs in your communications with learners.
  • Include the SMEs in the online social learning space, where they can provide expertise and insights to the learner community.

Take the lead yourself – and ask! When it comes to content in any training program, evaluation is a continuous cycle. New technology or processes emerge, organizations evolve, and what used to be up-to-date information gets stale. It’s important to sit down with SMEs to look at what content may need to be updated as time passes. Here are some questions to ask to help you decide what actions to take:

  • What is currently right and/or wrong about the content?
  • Is it necessary for content to be updated?
  • Is new, updated material available?

To make this process easy, we’ve created a simple template to help you record these answers. Download the file, schedule a coffee meeting with your SME and get updating!

Content Update Template (Word document)