15 eLearning Questions to Ask Your Subject Matter Experts

When starting a new eLearning project, there is a lot of information you need to collect and a lot of questions to ask your subject matter experts. The development of any eLearning course should always start with a project kickoff meeting. An eLearning project kickoff meeting gives you the opportunity to meet with your project stakeholders and subject matter experts to collect information, set expectations, and ask questions.

To help guide you through your next eLearning project kickoff meeting, here are 15 eLearning questions to ask your subject matter experts. You can also download these questions in a free worksheet you can edit and print to fit your needs!

eLearning Questions to Ask Your Subject Matter Experts

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Questions for Project Scope

When does this course need to be available?

Ask this question to determine the target date for when the course development is to be completed and when the course should be available to learners. This can help you build your eLearning project schedule.

How long do you think this course should be?

Ask this question to determine how much learning content your SME is expecting you to deliver and how long it will take to develop. This can help you scope the total project and estimate the amount of time you need to budget for development.

Who are the target learners for this course?

Ask this question to determine the audience for the course. This can help you better understand the specific needs of this audience.

Questions for Business Goals

What goals or metrics can be most affected by this course?

Ask this question to determine how you can correlate this course to a measurable goal. This can help you design content that is focused on positively affecting those goals or metrics.

What behaviors have the most positive effect on these goals or metrics?

Ask this question to determine the behaviors that have the most positive impact on the stated goal(s). This can help you design interactions that emulate and encourage these behaviors.

How much of an effect would you like this course to have on these goals or metrics?

Ask this question to determine how much your SME expects the course to affect their goal(s). This can help you put greater emphasis on ensuring the course focuses on the right information and behaviors.

Questions for Course Content

What do learners need to know to perform the desired behaviors?

Ask this question to determine what knowledge is required to perform the desired behaviors. This can help you focus on information that is related to behaviors, rather than nice-to-know information.

What existing resources, best practices, or training are currently available on this topic?

Ask this question to determine what content can be referenced or used for the development of the course. This can help you save time from recreating existing content.

How effective or ineffective is the existing content or training?

Ask this question to determine what is and is not working with the existing resources or training. This can help ensure your course focuses on what’s most effective.

Questions for Course Development

Have you ever participated in the development of an eLearning course? If so, how?

Ask this question to determine the experience your SME has with the eLearning development process. This can help you educate your SME on the development process.

How would you describe what effective and ineffective eLearning looks like?

Ask this question to determine how your SME views good and bad eLearning. This can help you identify any misconceptions your SME has regarding eLearning.

Who needs to review this course and how much time is required to provide feedback?

Ask this question to determine your course reviewers and how much time is needed to provide edits. This can help you make sure the right people are included in the development and review process.

Questions for Course Delivery

How will this course be communicated to learners?

Ask this question to determine who is responsible for ensuring the course is made available to learners. This will help you make sure the course is implemented properly.

Do learners need to complete this course by a certain date? If so, why?

Ask this question to determine what expectations your SME has for learner completion and why. This can help you plan for course delivery and implementation.

Who is responsible for ensuring learners complete the course by the stated date?

Ask this question to determine who is responsible for ensuring learners complete the course by the stated date. This can help you make sure everyone understanding their responsibilities.

Other Questions to Ask Your Subject Matter Experts

What other questions do you ask your subject matter experts? Share them by commenting below!

Additional Resources

Tim Slade
Hi, I’m Tim Slade, and I’m a speaker, author, and award-winning eLearning designer. I’ve spent nearly a decade working to help others elevate their eLearning and visual communications content. I’ve been recognized and awarded within the eLearning industry multiple times for my creative and innovative design aesthetics. I also speak regularly at national eLearning conferences, and I’m a recognized Articulate Super Hero and co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series.

7 Responses to “15 eLearning Questions to Ask Your Subject Matter Experts

  • Good checklist!

    In terms of delivering and designing the course itself, I’m pretty convinced that what one might as about are possible visual representations of the to-be-conveyed knowledge. SMEs sometimes don’t know what are graphic designers capable of, and I’ve met many of them who have learnt themselves from visual materials- charts, ad hoc drawings, their own doodling etc.

  • Maybe a question about the shelf-life of the course, and/or how to handle updates.

  • thank you for sharing all your knowledge and experiences Tim.

    I’d add to this list:
    – if a learner struggled with eLearning (it can happen!), would you be comfortable using a blended approach and what role would you like to play in that (heavily involved? provide materials for their Manager to use? etc)
    – how much do your learners get to practice these skills as part of their role? if not much, is there a need for a refresher? (And get them to help you identify key topics for refresher if yes to a refresher)

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