Would you hire a veterinarian instead of a pediatrician to treat your sick baby?
Would you call a lifeguard to put out a fire?
Would you call a biology professor to help you write an essay for an English class?
Those questions, of course, are ridiculous. The benefits of hiring an online Subject Matter Expert or offline are evident. While the internet has created a culture that does not respect expertise, most people reject the idea that they can learn everything they need to know on YouTube. Luckily, society does not allow those people to pilot our planes after watching a Ted Talk about aviation or to perform an organ transplant after seeing a documentary on Netflix.
Any offline or online Subject Matter Experts have dedicated years to learning, perfecting, and practicing their crafts.
In academic circles, there are Subject Matter Experts who have worked in their disciplines for years. They have earned advanced degrees, published in peer-reviewed journals, and been entrusted to teaching younger generations who are the future of their fields of study.
In the realm of curriculum development and instructional design, SMEs and Instructional Designers work together to translate courses and programs from in-person delivery to online delivery. That act of translation is both an art and a science.
Subject Matter Experts are often owners of vast collections of intellectual property. Their studies, reports, research materials, and teaching methods are often broad in scope because the classroom or lecture hall had long been their domain as they play the role of professor or instructor. Their live course design and content are linked to their specific voice, personality, experienced expertise, and even their status as SMEs. Porting all those qualities into an online course template requires their input and cooperation with the Instructional Designer who is versed in the use of online tools and interactive learning activities.
Together, the SME and ID develop guidelines that respect and deploy the SME’s collected intellectual property in a course or program form.
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of SMEs in the creation of online educational programs. Their involvement is an essential part of student retention at colleges and universities across the United States. Faculty departures, along with falling enrollment, are serious issues in higher education. If an SME is the heart of an online course, then students expect them to be available throughout their programs.
Another benefit to hiring an SME is that it also ensures effective teaching! They have already made a commitment to the long-term maintenance of an academic culture that goes back to the time of Socrates.
The Babb Group has worked with colleges, universities, and corporate learning and development departments, and hence they offer unparalleled subject matter expert services. They have brought together SMEs and Instructional Designers effectively since the advent of online education.
“We are constantly challenging ourselves to innovate,” said Dr. Mark Kassel, the Head of Online at Chatham University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, a client of The Babb Group. “We are always providing our faculty with new tools and building methodologies to increase student engagement online. It’s really the relationships that students and faculty build with each other and with faculty that drives the kind of student engagement that leads to student retention.”
A subject matter expert consultant can help the education industry to grow by suggesting the best SME for the given topic/course/subject.