Introduction To MindMeld

Introduction to MindMeld

I am very excited to announce that my new book, “MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts,” is in the final publishing stages (including pre-order status)… So for the next few weeks I will be posting a series of blog entries regarding my new book and its contents. My intention for each blog post is to focus on individual chapters in the book and provide a little synopsis of them in order to bring some insight to you as to what the book is about and why I would encourage you to embrace it.

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Success Models For Association Online Education – Leading Learning Breakfast

Success Models for Association Online Education – Leading Learning Breakfast

On April 5th, Tagoras will be hosting a breakfast at Clyde’s of Gallery Place in Washington, DC. This will be the kick-off event for their new quarterly breakfast series for those interested in learning more about successful online education strategies. This new series called Leading Learning, will bring together industry experts and association learning leaders in an open environment to discuss the how’s and why’s of business strategies in online education.

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Team Sharing To Build Highly Interactive Activities

Team Sharing to Build Highly Interactive Activities

The extremely popular Learning Solutions Conference & Expo is quickly approaching us this month, so I thought I’d take a moment to mention a few things about the conference and give a sneak preview of my presentation that I will be giving on March 23rd at 10:45am entitled, “Micro-collaboration: Team Sharing to Build Highly Interactive Activities.” If you are not already registered to attend this event, I recommend looking into it. The attendance for this conference is expected to be huge; the Hilton in the Walter Disney World Resort has already sold out! If you are interested in taking a look at why you should attend and what types of offerings are available, visit the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo website.

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Communicating With Subject Matter Experts

Communicating with Subject Matter Experts

Many eLearning writers and developers struggle with communicating with experts to acquire the knowledge necessary to develop highly interactive online learning activities. Experts are busy, in demand, and rarely are compensated for their work and advice on your eLearning project. After researching several projects over the last year, I’ve assembled five main factors that eLearning managers can utilize to encourage more subject matter expert (SME) involvement. In the graphic below, you can see these five factors that I have added on top of Samuel Bacharach’s Momentum Model; I believe this adaptation presents a more cohesive understanding of the collaboration process with SME’s.

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Managing Subject Matter Expert Engagement Via Project Momentum

Managing Subject Matter Expert Engagement via Project Momentum

I have been laboring…writing my dissertation chapters for the last seven months. My topic: What Factors Enable Collaboration between the SME and the IDD teams?

Suddenly. Brainstorm! I realized that my Ph.D. dissertation project has its own project momentum.  The better I had organized my writing time, writing environment, and completion goals, the more engaged and passionate I became and the more I seemed to get done: analysis, reflection, and writing.

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Promoting The Use Of Information Visualization

Promoting the use of Information Visualization

One of my goals as an eLearning manager is to facilitate collaboration and efficient communication between my staff members, our clients, and their subject matter experts (SME).

eLearning managers need to consider ways to encourage their staff to use visual representation tools for portraying concepts to each other, project sponsors, and SMEs at each stage of development and testing. Is the use of visual representation or information visualization really common sense, or do we need new tools and standards to help guide us in communicating?  Let me describe a recent conversation I had with my son about how he has applied a visual representation tool.

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Getting The SME To Share Expertise For ELearning

Getting the SME to Share Expertise for eLearning

I noticed Jane Bozarth’s blog posting concerning a lively discussion on “Tips for Working with SMEs?” My blog post on handling subject matter experts back in January also seemed to stimulate discussion. I am currently working on my PhD. dissertation proposal on contributing factors to expertise-sharing between the SME and the design team. Project success depends on several factors, starting with achieving respect between the two parties. This goal is best attained through mutual understanding. The SME should be educated on the process and technicalities of interactive computer program design and execution. The development team member bonding with the SME starts with a better understanding of the types of expertise. Respect can then move beyond mere protocol.

In the book Expertise in Context, edited by Paul J. Feltovich, Kenneth M. Ford, and Robert R. Hoffman, Chapter Six author Robert J. Sternberg outlines what constitutes an expert and provides nine views of an expert:

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Tips On Handling Subject Matter Experts (SME)

Tips on Handling Subject Matter Experts (SME)

I’ve been following responses to a question on LinkedIn’s eLearning Guild group about working with subject matter experts, or SMEs. Here is my response to some of the ideas other group members posted:

  1. Recognize that how you manage the SME will have a significant impact on the success of your eLearning project in terms of time, cost, and quality.
  2. Inform your SME of the goals of your project and the amount of time it will take to meet them. Provide a mutually-agreed-upon timeline for when you need the SME.
  3. Ask the SME whether his or her supervisor understands the time commitment the training program will require.
  4. Show the SME a sample of a similar eLearning project in order to educate him or her on what to expect from this project. Provide a quick overview of the complexity of the final deliverable, the team effort necessary, and especially, the importance of expert input.
  5. Whenever possible, let the SME react to content. Start with a rough outline that uses a lesson/topic format.
  6. Respect the SME’s time; come prepared with questions that encourage the SME to tell you stories. And above all, listen!
  7. Use a spreadsheet or Word outline template to assist the SME with writing ideas down on “paper”.
  8. Use a web-based team site or wiki as a document repository and as a way to keep the SME informed of all project phases and the roles of other team members.
  9. Aggressively renegotiate deadlines when necessary. Take the lead on communicating with the primary stakeholder when deadlines change due to SME time constraints.
  10. Honor the expert throughout the development process. Tell the development team about the important contributions the SME makes to the project.
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