Working With Subject Matter Experts and Action Mapping

Working with a subject matter expert (the individual who has applicable content knowledge on the course you are developing) and action mapping (a training design process that helps determine what actions, behaviors, or skills should be the “end game” of the course you are developing) are both meaty topics which could be covered in multiple blog posts.  We will likely revisit both ‘subject matter experts’ and ‘action mapping’ at a later time, but I want to share a tool I developed based on concepts found on Kathy Moore’s blog, Let’s Save the World From Boring Training. (More on Cathy Moore later, but you need to give her site a “look see” if you have never had the pleasure.)

Cathy Moore has some wonderful eBooks, resources, and blog entries about action mapping and working with subject matter experts.  I used her resources early and frequently while determining how to frame content for my first e-learning courses.  I was sold on her process for guiding subject matter experts through an intentional series of questions to determine:

  1. If a course is needed for the content/topic being proposed (Is the content/topic necessary to achieve a business outcome? Could the content/topic be communicated in a job aid or email instead of by developing training?)
  2. If there are specific and necessary actions, skills, or behaviors that a learner needs to be able to do at the conclusion of the course.
  3. What activity, scenario, or content should be developed to help learners do the action, skill, or behavior that is needed.

I wanted a simple tool to use the concepts that Cathy Moore teaches so I could stay on track while working with subject matter experts (SMEs) …lest I fall down the rabbit hole of what a learner needs to ‘know’ as opposed to the much more productive outcome of what the learner needs to ‘do’.  Click on the image below to access a PDF file.  Leave comments if you have suggestions or other resources that you like to use!

SME and Mapping


Instructional Designers and the Art of Wearing Hats

I explained why I felt a need to develop ‘Lakeside Insight’ here…which was in no small part influenced by a need for information that would be helpful for a staff development professional or instructional designer who came by the job through a back door and may be wearing many hats.  I needed the information and assumed that if I was seeking ways to become a more qualified and competent instructional designer for a job I was already knee deep in and didn’t have time to get yet another degree, thank you very much…someone else might be looking too.

As a first attempt to identify what types of hats someone in a similar role might be wearing, I did a google search and landed on an article that summarized the idea beautifully.  In an article written by Justin Ferriman, nine essential skills for instructional designers are spelled out.  They might surprise you.  Whether you came by the role through a degree or it landed in your lap like it did for me, more and more instructional designers are wearing multiple hats.

Click on the picture below to read the full article on LearnDash’s blog: