Glossary

What is Subject Matter Expert?

Learn about the role of a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in e-learning and their responsibilities including providing knowledge and expertise on a specific topic, developing and reviewing e-learning content, and serving as a consultant for instructional design.

Table of Contents

E-learning has become an essential part of today's education and corporate training, and the role of a Subject Matter Expert (SME) is becoming increasingly important. A SME is a person who has a deep understanding and expertise on a specific topic and is responsible for providing that knowledge and expertise to the e-learning development process.

They are the ones who ensure that the e-learning content is accurate, relevant and up-to-date. They are the subject matter experts on a particular field, and their role is vital in the creation and development of e-learning materials. In this article, we will explore in depth the responsibilities, skills, and qualifications needed to excel in the field of being a Subject Matter Expert.

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) plays a vital role in the success of an e-learning program. They provide the necessary knowledge and expertise on a specific topic to ensure that the e-learning content is accurate, relevant and up-to-date. They work closely with instructional designers, e-learning developers, and other SMEs to create high-quality e-learning content. They also serve as a consultant for instructional design, advising on how to use the content to achieve the organization's e-learning goals and identifying opportunities for improvement. In order to excel in this role, an SME must have a deep understanding of the subject matter, strong communication skills, and the ability to work in a team.

Subject Matter Expert

Subject Matter Expert responsibilities

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) is responsible for providing knowledge and expertise on a specific topic, developing and reviewing e-learning content, and serving as a consultant for instructional design. They play a critical role in ensuring that the e-learning content is accurate, relevant and up-to-date.

  • Providing Knowledge and Expertise: A Subject Matter Expert is responsible for providing knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They must have a deep understanding of the subject matter and be able to answer questions and provide guidance on the topic.
  • Developing and Reviewing E-Learning Content: A Subject Matter Expert is also responsible for developing and reviewing e-learning content. This includes creating and reviewing modules, assessments, and other interactive elements to ensure that the content is accurate, relevant and up-to-date.
  • Serving as a Consultant for Instructional Design: A Subject Matter Expert is also responsible for serving as a consultant for instructional design. This includes advising on how to use the content to achieve the organization's e-learning goals, and identifying opportunities for improvement.

Subject Matter Expert skills

A Subject Matter Expert must have a set of skills to excel in their role. These skills include strong subject matter knowledge, strong communication skills, and the ability to work in a team

  • Strong Subject Matter Knowledge: A Subject Matter Expert should have a deep understanding of the topic they are providing expertise on. They should be able to answer questions and provide guidance on the topic. They should also be able to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.
  • Strong Communication Skills: A Subject Matter Expert should have strong communication skills, including the ability to explain complex concepts in simple terms. They should be able to communicate effectively with different stakeholders, such as instructional designers, e-learning developers, and learners.
  • Ability to Work in a Team: A Subject Matter Expert should also be able to work in a team. They should be able to collaborate with other team members, such as instructional designers, e-learning developers, and other SMEs, to create high-quality e-learning content.

Subject Matter Expert qualifications

A Subject Matter Expert should have relevant qualifications, such as a degree, in the field they are providing expertise on. They should also have relevant work experience and be able to demonstrate their subject matter knowledge and expertise. Strong communication skills and the ability to work in a team are also important qualifications for this role.

Subject Matter Expert career path

A Subject Matter Expert may start their career in a field related to the subject matter they are providing expertise on and then progress to a role as a SME. Some Subject Matter Experts may choose to specialize in a specific area, such as healthcare or IT, and become a Healthcare Subject Matter Expert or an IT Subject Matter Expert.

Subject Matter Expert opportunities

  • E-learning companies
  • Corporate training departments
  • Educational institutions
  • Government agencies

Conclusion

A Subject Matter Expert plays a critical role in providing knowledge and expertise on a specific topic, developing and reviewing e-learning content, and serving as a consultant for instructional design. They must have strong subject matter knowledge, strong communication skills, and the ability to work in a team. There are multiple career paths available for Subject Matter Experts, and opportunities exist in e-learning companies, corporate training departments, educational institutions, and government agencies. Understanding the role of a Subject Matter Expert is essential for anyone interested in pursuing a career in e-learning and educational technology.

Read more: 15 Best Tools for Instructional Designers: Your Complete Toolbox

Read more: What is Knowledge Economy?

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