How Instructional Designers Work with Subject Matter Experts

Published on: March 25, 2020
Jane Gibbons, Instructional Designer
Suzanne Livingston, Instructional Designer

Subject matter experts know a lot about their subject--that’s why they are experts! They also may know a lot about teaching. So why do they need an instructional designer?

In an online course, the dynamics of learning are very different--and there is no ongoing interaction and immediate feedback from learners to indicate that the presentation is working.

Instructional designers focus on the way online course content is assembled and presented to the learner; they represent the non-experts who need to understand the material. They can help a subject matter expert ensure that the pacing, level, and presentation of the course is appropriate for an online or blended environment and that it will work well for a range of learners.

At Unicon, we have been creating and delivering highly effective online courses for more than 20 years.

In Part 2 of our instructional design vlog series, two members of our experienced instructional design team explain how instructional designers and subject matter experts work together to create the best possible learning experience.


Other blogs in this series:

What Can An Instructional Designer Do For Me - Episode 1: What is Instructional Design?

Jane Gibbons photo

Jane Gibbons

Instructional Designer

I’m Jane Gibbons, an instructional designer here at Unicon. I have a master’s degree in Educational Technology and have been working as an instructional designer for many years. I have worked for small vendors with big clients and as an employee of large Silicon Valley companies. I was an independent contractor for several years before I hit the jackpot by being hired by the good folks at Unicon. My motto for instructional design work is simple, “Don’t frustrate your learners, motivate them!”

Sue Livingston photo

Suzanne Livingston

Instructional Designer

I am an Instructional Designer at Unicon. I have a master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology, a certificate in Online Learning and Teaching, and a certificate in Instructional Design of eLearning. Prior to joining the Unicon team, my experience included instructional design for a variety of large and small companies. My work has included all types of delivery methods to accommodate the needs of the companies and their learners (in-person, virtual instructor led, and eLearning). I believe sound instruction is key to a successful learning experience. The learner should be engaged throughout the course or training!