(with Stop Making Sense playing in the background…)
On a discussion list, someone complained about using subject matter experts, not trained as trainers, as instructors. Well, it can be bad, but there are times it makes sense. So I replied:
When you think of the full spectrum of learning needs, and you’ve an unmotivated newbie, you need a well-done, full course. If they’re already motivated, you can make it pretty lean.
If they’re already a practitioner, motivated and with the foundations, they may just need an update, e.g. hearing someone they respect present the new thoughts, and it doesn’t have to be pretty, just meaningful content. This is when experts talking makes sense.
I did point out that this rational assessment doesn’t characterize much of corporate training. We know that there’re heaps of problems including SMEs focusing on knowledge instead of skills because they no longer have access to their expertise, evaluation by smiley faces, etc, but I also concluded “don’t assume everything’s got to be a course”.