Tailored eLearning: Maximizing SME Collaboration

A Senior LXD’s Insights

In the dynamic realm of custom eLearning development, it’s essential to acknowledge that custom eLearning projects often involve working with a multitude of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) across diverse domains. As a seasoned Senior Learning Experience Designer (LXD), navigating this collaboration has revealed techniques for success. From healthcare to finance, technology to humanities, the breadth of expertise encountered enriches the collaborative process, providing LXDs with a wealth of insights to inform the development of impactful learning experiences.

Understanding and appreciating the unique expertise each SME brings to the table is essential. By recognizing the breadth of SME knowledge and fostering a collaborative environment that embraces diversity, LXDs can maximize the creative potential of collaboration. Moreover, this diversity enriches collaboration, shaping the content and direction of eLearning modules.

This article will highlight effective techniques for collaborating with SMEs to craft compelling eLearning experiences. From understanding the SME landscape to leveraging their expertise effectively, establishing clear communication channels, fostering a collaborative culture, embracing technology, and navigating challenges, each aspect of collaboration is vital. By implementing these techniques and celebrating successes along the way, LXDs and SMEs can form a partnership that empowers learners through impactful custom eLearning solutions.

Navigating Diverse Expertise

In the realm of custom eLearning, versatility is paramount as LXDs continually collaborate with a diverse array of SMEs. Each engagement brings forth a new set of challenges and opportunities, requiring adaptability and flexibility from LXDs. From healthcare professionals to finance experts, technology gurus to humanities scholars, the breadth of SME expertise encountered is vast. LXDs must adeptly navigate this diversity, tailoring collaboration strategies to suit the unique needs and perspectives of each SME. By embracing this diversity and leveraging the richness of SME knowledge across various domains, LXDs can craft truly comprehensive and impactful eLearning solutions.

Understanding The SME Landscape

Each SME brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table, making them invaluable partners in the eLearning development process. As an LXD, it’s essential to recognize and appreciate the unique perspectives that SMEs offer. Whether they’re experts in healthcare, finance, technology, or other domains. By understanding the SME landscape and respecting their expertise, LXDs can foster a collaborative environment that maximizes creativity and innovation.

Leveraging SME Expertise Effectively

Frequently, SMEs exhibit enthusiasm to incorporate extensive information that surpasses the required scope. To safeguard against this and align with our learning objectives, the creation of a content guide proves invaluable. This guide, orchestrated by the LXD, mirrors the structure of the eLearning module. However, it includes designated areas where SMEs can input the necessary content. It’s imperative to clearly communicate to the SMEs the specific requirements, such as word count limits and content focus, within the guide in the designated areas.

Establishing Effective Communication

Clear and open communication is the cornerstone of successful collaboration between LXDs and SMEs. From the initial project kickoff to the final review stages, maintaining transparent communication channels is essential for aligning goals, sharing progress updates, and addressing any challenges that may arise. Moreover, it’s crucial to consider the availability of SMEs and integrate it into the project timeline to anticipate potential delays and manage them effectively. Additionally, leveraging digital communication tools and project management platforms can streamline communication processes and enhance collaboration efficiency.

Fostering A Collaborative Culture

Creating a culture of collaboration is essential for maximizing the collective expertise of LXDs and SMEs. By fostering an environment where every voice is heard and respected, LXDs can encourage active participation and idea-sharing among team members. This collaborative culture not only leads to better decision making and problem solving but also promotes a sense of ownership and investment in the project’s success. Recognizing and celebrating contributions from SMEs further reinforces this collaborative spirit and strengthens the partnership between all stakeholders involved.

Embracing Technology

Technology plays a significant role in facilitating collaboration between LXDs and SMEs in custom eLearning development. From project management tools to collaborative authoring platforms, leveraging technology solutions can streamline workflows, enhance communication, and improve overall project efficiency. Virtual collaboration tools such as videoconferencing and screen-sharing applications enable real-time communication and collaboration, regardless of geographical barriers. Additionally, cloud-based storage solutions ensure seamless access to project assets and resources, enabling remote team members to collaborate effectively. For example, shared online documents are also very helpful when needing to collaborate on the same document instead of having multiple versions of the document going back and forth.

Navigating Challenges

Collaboration between LXDs and SMEs may encounter various challenges, ranging from conflicting schedules and priorities to differences in communication styles and expectations. LXDs should approach these challenges with empathy, patience, and flexibility, seeking constructive solutions that address the root causes effectively. Clear communication, active listening, and proactive problem solving are essential for navigating challenges and maintaining positive working relationships with SMEs. By fostering a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration, LXDs can overcome obstacles and achieve project success.

Celebrating Successes

Recognizing and celebrating successes is crucial for fostering a positive and supportive work environment. Whether it’s meeting project milestones or receiving positive feedback, acknowledging achievements boosts team morale and motivation. LXDs should take the time to celebrate successes with SMEs and other project stakeholders, expressing gratitude for their contributions and dedication. Celebrating successes not only reinforces a sense of accomplishment but also strengthens the bond between team members and fosters a culture of collaboration and camaraderie.


All in all, the partnership between LXDs and SMEs is crucial for successful custom eLearning development. By understanding SME expertise and fostering effective communication, collaboration, and technological integration, LXDs can create engaging learning solutions that meet objectives. Despite challenges, such as scheduling conflicts and communication barriers, maintaining empathy and flexibility is key. Celebrating successes strengthens the partnership and fosters a positive work environment, ultimately empowering learners through impactful experiences.

This is why Subject Matter Experts love working with us! You can learn more about our process.


We are about learning, simply.We design and create custom learning content and deliver it across multiple platforms, always enriching learning with technology.Gold winners at Learning Technologies Awards UK 2018 for Best Learning Technologies Project

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