Tips for collaborating
Ask any e-learning professional about the
hardest part of their job, and you'll likely hear
some variation of 'working with project
stakeholders and/or Subject Matter Experts
(SMEs).' Try as we might, getting everyone
working together effectively always seems to
be a struggle. But why is collaborating with
stakeholders and SMEs so challenging? And
how can you collaborate more effectively?
Those are the big questions we'll tackle here.
Along the way, I'll share tips for getting the
information, involvement, and feedback you
need to meet project deadlines, create great
e-learning, and build stronger partnerships.
Why is collaboration such a
Getting what you need from others is tricky
simply because people are busy! With
stakeholders and SMEs, their time and
expertise are usually in short supply, making it
difficult to get their full attention.
Then, once you have their time and attention,
you might be faced with another trial, one
that's more complex for e-learning projects.
Your stakeholders can't zero in on what
information learners really need. This can lead
them to resist your efforts to pare down their
They might even ask you why you can't
simply take their materials and 'put them
online' as is.
Sound familiar? If so, maybe you've always
acquiesced, thinking you can't say no without
making you or your team look bad. On the flip
side, failing to push back gives your
stakeholders the impression that your job is
simply to add some sparkle to their
PowerPoint slides. Not exactly a recipe for
building a collaborative relationship is it? So
how do you get your busy stakeholders to
trust you with their content.
How do I collaborate more
Effective collaboration starts on day one of the
project and continues well beyond its delivery
to the training audience. This means it's
crucial to get things off to a good start.
Most e-learning projects start with a project
kick-off meeting. This is a great opportunity for
you to identify who's who on the team and lay
the groundwork for a cooperative relationship.
Here are a few tips to help you to achieve