Five Course Development Tips for You and Your PowerPoint-Loving SMEs

Five Course Development Tips for You and Your PowerPoint-Loving SMEs

PowerPoint is the holy grail of course authoring. Especially for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). No matter how much we protest, PowerPoint is still the hub of every training development hamster run. So how do we leverage it? Ask your SMEs to do these four things.

Chunk slides by topic and subtopic

Think of this as asking your SMEs to take a breath mentally. They know where one thought ends and another begins. Ask them to share those junctures with you to provide big-picture clarity, help you sketch out timing, and reality check your delivery expectations.

Create visual memory markers

This line never gets old: A picture is worth a thousand words. When you flash back on something that has stayed with you, the first thing you do is see, feel, smell, or hear a memory that links to a feeling. That’s the power of PowerPoint. It allows you to create emotional markers.

Put text in its place

Unless you have a few decades to be a role model, you can’t teach without talking. That’s what being a SME is all about. Telling other people what you know, to help them do what you do. So, use the PowerPoint notes area to write your heart out.

Assume nothing

When you start a direction with “Explain this” follow it with the explanation. When you direct the asking of a question, follow it with the answer. Nobody knows what you know like you do unless you spell it out.


Then, all you need to do is this one last thing.

 Create separate handouts for each audience

Yes, you’ll have to create a couple of copies of the PowerPoint file and parse the notes in each file accordingly. However, if all you’re giving them is a print out of the PowerPoint file, at least have the courtesy to discard the unnecessary content, especially for the participants.

Moreover, if you want to make everyone’s life easier, consider using Scripter to organize and build out the PowerPoint notes and create handouts for each audience.

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