Need to Know?  Or Just Nice to Know

We started this series with a story about my terrible packing habits back in the day – Everything But the Kitchen Sink – Is Your Training Overpacked and how training developers often face a similar problem. Solving the packing problem was easy for me because I was the only one who had a stake in the outcome.  That’s not the case when working with subject matter experts (SMEs).

Our blog post 6 Tips for Working with Subject Matter Experts offers some valuable insight into working with SMEs.  Those relationships are critical to the work you do – and without them it’s going to be nearly impossible to prevent your course from being overpacked.

To solve my packing problem, I had to recognize the difference between what I needed to have and what was just nice to have.  You’ll often find that your SMEs face the same challenge.  As experts in their fields, they are going to be very passionate about the material which often makes it hard for them to part with any of it.

How can you help your SMEs recognize the difference between what the learner needs to know and what’s just nice for them to know?  

When you find yourself wrestling with the dilemma of need to know vs. nice to know, refer back to your foundational documents – the HILM (Creating a Solid Training Foundation) and the HLDD (The Five Ws to Determine the How) – and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does the information support the learning objectives (the DO column of the HILM)?
  2. Do my learners need this information to be successful (the Achieve column of the HILM)?
  3. Is this information compatible with the delivery mode (refer to your HLDD for guidance)?

Sorting the need to know from the nice to know is only part of your content development process.  Stay tuned for next week’s blog on storyboarding.

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