In K12 there is a gap remaining between face-to-face teaching and online learning that colors interactions with all the hybrids in between. It is the experience gap with online content. And without experiencing online learning (and sometimes even with online learning experience) educators might not understand the importance of the subject matter expert in the process of building online content. While excellent teaching does not recommend on to create online content {I assume you are a blog reader & we cover this extensively; if not sign up for updates!}, being able to create content without some content expertise is a good way to make the online content irrelevant at best.

Both the Subject Matter Expert – a classroom teacher, a specialist, or an Administrator – needs to sit with the eLearning professional to develop good content. The assignment cannot be a hand-off, but more a project completed together over time.

The eLearning professional and the subject matter expert sounds formal to K-12 educators; we are talking about the content expert and the designer of the course at the most basic level.Online Content without Subject Matter Expert

Division of Labor

This team has a balance of expertise and questions. Without the expertise the content lies flat at best, misrepresented or misunderstood at worst. Without a strategy for the design of the content, the teacher may teach more about the platform than the content.

Generating Ideas

Sometimes educators have taught the same thing the same way for so long they might not appreciate new opportunities. That is where an eLearning specialist might ask probing questions and then suggest a new way to present the content, gather input from students in the content,  or create opportunities for the audience to discover the information themselves. Combining the keepers of “What” and “How” can generate exciting outcomes.

Purity of Purpose

While an eLearning professional can bring a lot to a team to create content, he or she cannot bring the purpose. The purpose is delivered by the teacher or specialist and brought to life by eLearning. A good eLearning specialist pulls back when it comes to content; only interjecting with a way to experience something to enhance learning or brushing away extraneous activities to refocus the learner on the content essential to learn.

The best scenario is a team of an expert educator and an eLearning expert who listens and has the goal to enhance the learning experience for students.