Metro DC Chapter Instructional Design CoP: Transforming What Your SMEs Know to What Your Learners Need

  • 31 Mar 2020
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • George Mason University Arlington Campus, Van Metre Hall, (room 207), 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA
  • 26



Have you ever had this conversation with a SME (subject-matter expert)?

SME: “This needs to be in the course.”

You: “I’m not sure it does.”

SME: “Yes, they definitely need to know it.”

You: “But I’m not sure it will help them.”

SME: “Well then at least need to be aware of it.”

You: “Hmpfh.”

Your learners have needs, and your SMEs have knowledge and experience. But do those two things always line up? When creating learning content, SMEs with the best intentions can end up creating courses that are long on information, short on practical application, and wrapped up in a bullet-point PowerPoint bow. The next thing you know, your learners are going to YouTube to find what they need instead.

In this session, you’ll learn five key strategies for working more effectively with SMEs to create content that sticks. You’ll gain practical insights, tips, and resources for making the most of your SME’s expertise and for harnessing that power in a productive and helpful way. You’ll walk away better able to move your content from simply conveying information to helping your learners solve the real problems they face every day.

You will learn to:

  • Change the focus of your efforts from the SME’s expertise to the learner’s needs.
  • Negotiate out “nice-to-know” information.
  • Help SMEs break down what they've learned over the years in a way that's helpful to others.
  • Use one simple question to determine what content should be included and what should be cut.

Please note: the program begins at 6:00 pm with informal networking and light refreshments until around 6:15 pm when the evening's formal program begins. The formal program ends at 7:30 pm and another round of informal networking will last for 30 minutes. We provide light snacks and bottled water.

Attendees are encouraged to bring light meals with them, such as sandwiches, wraps or salads. There are several limited-service eating establishments within a few blocks of Van Metre Hall that offer such fare.

If you register and are no longer able to attend, please send an email to

About the Speaker:

Diane Elkins is the co-owner of E-Learning Uncovered, which provides training and resources to e-learning developers, and Artisan E-Learning, a custom e-learning development company specializing in Articulate Storyline. She has built a reputation as a national e-learning expert by being a frequent speaker at major industry events such as ATD ICE, ATD TechKnowledge, DevLearn, and Learning Solutions. She is also the co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series as well as E-Learning Fundamentals: A Practical Guide from ATD Press. She is a past board member of the Northeast Florida and Metro DC chapters of ATD.

Venue: George Mason University Arlington Campus, Van Metre Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA

George Mason University Executive and Professional Education is focused on meeting the education and training needs of the business community with Certificate programs and professional certification preparation. Our broad range of professional development programs, including programs in Leadership, Project Management, Government Contracting, HR, and many others, serve the private sector, as well as local, state, and federal organizations. Quality, timely, and cost-effective programs can be accessed in open-enrollment public seminars, classroom based and online formats, and in-house contracted training. ATD Members enjoy 10 % discount on Mason EPE Open Enrollment Offerings* *(Exceptions to course discounts: Paralegal, Certified Financial Planner, ed2go online training, and others as indicated by GMU Executive and Professional Education.) To obtain the member only ATD Discount Code, contact the Metro DC ATD Office at before you register for Mason Executive and Professional Education courses. 

Directions to Van Metre Hall:

From Washington, DC:

Cross over the Roosevelt Bridge; follow signs to the George Washington Parkway. Once on the parkway, exit at Spout Run (left exit). Cross over Route 29 (Lee Highway). Spout Run is now Kirkwood Road. Cross over Washington Boulevard. Van Metre is on the right, at North Fairfax Drive.

From I-66 heading east:
Exit I-66 at Glebe Road/Fairfax Drive (exit 71). The exit ramp turns into Fairfax Drive. After traveling one mile on North Fairfax Drive, you will see the FDIC building on the left. Van Metre is past the FDIC building.

*Note: All eastbound lanes of I-66 inside the Beltway are restricted to HOV-2 from 6:30 am to 9:00 am and all westbound lanes of I-66 inside the Beltway are restricted to HOV-2 from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

From I-66 heading west:
Exit I-66 at Glebe Road (exit 71). Turn left onto Washington Boulevard. Stay on Washington Boulevard until you pass the Giant Supermarket; then turn right onto Kirkwood Road. Van Metre is on the right, at North Fairfax Drive.

*Note: All eastbound lanes of I-66 inside the Beltway are restricted to HOV-2 from 6:30 am to 9:00 am and all westbound lanes of I-66 inside the Beltway are restricted to HOV-2 from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

From I-395:
Exit I-395 at Glebe Road North. Continue on Glebe Road, passing Ballston Common Mall on the right. Cross over Wilson Boulevard, and then turn right onto Fairfax Drive. After one mile you will see the FDIC building on the left. Van Metre Hall is past the FDIC building.

From Fairfax and Points West, via Route 50:
Go east on Route 50 (Arlington Blvd.). Exit at Glebe Road, and turn left on Glebe. Turn right on Fairfax Drive. Van Metre is one mile down on North Fairfax Drive, past the FDIC building, on the left.

Please note: Paid visitor garage parking is available onsite at Van Metre Hall as is limited street parking outside the building. We do not provide validation for attendees who park in the visitor garage.

By Metro:
Take the Orange Line to the Virginia Square/GMU station. The Arlington Campus is approximately 2 blocks Take the escalator to the street level, and turn to face Fairfax Drive. Across the street and to the right, you will see the FDIC building. Cross the street and continue past the FDIC building. Van Metre Hall is on the left.

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