SME Review Cycle – Does Content Type Matter?

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog highlighting a portion of the results of an extensive LinkedIn Survey I conducted on Subject Matter Expert Reviews:  SME Review Cycle – Scheduling Duration.  I conducted this survey because I couldn’t find any real data on the best way to schedule for SME reviews.  Not surprisingly, it has been a very popular blog.

This blog focuses on the next section of that survey – “Does the content type affect the actual time required for reviews?”  For scheduling purposes this is not as critical. But for the purposes of getting project champions on-board or for setting expectations with the subject matter experts – this is necessary information.   Here are the results of each question with some information about the comments.

Question 1: On average, how much actual time do your SMEs need to review your deliverables for one hour of training?

The responses skewed strongly toward 2 – 4 hours of actual time for the review for 1 hour of training.  There were not many comments on this and they all focused on the type of content.  ….Which leads to the next question.

Question #2: Does the SME require more or less time based on the type of content?

Your answer – absolutely!  (Again – not surprising)  Some comments:

“It’s more based on the length of the course and possibly if it is a new medium for them (storyboards might be more challenging for those new to it)”

“If you had 30 minutes of regulatory ILT, 20 minutes of testing and 10 minutes to debrief and L1 eval…it would take longer to review than say an hour of the class working through a couple of case studies or review games.”

Overall, the comments said that technical or detailed content takes longer to review than something a little less rigid like soft skills. Luckily, I asked a follow up question.

Question #3:

I asked each of you to check all the types of content that take longer to review.  Again, the results didn’t surprise me.  Legal compliance and technical subjects take longer to review.

So in answer to the title question: “Does Content Type Matter?” – your colleagues have answered YES!

Look for more answers in my next short blog on SME Review Cycle – Does the SME’s Role Matter?

Leigh Anne Lankford is an instructional designer with 20 years’ experience in the field of HRD. She is a Relationship Manager for TrainingPros in Atlanta, working closely with training and development departments of large organizations to identify, attract, and on-board contract employees for very specific and specialized training and development needs. You can reach Leigh Anne at  

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