Translate Complex Content Into Easy-To-Understand Material



How To Make Complex Content Easy To Understand

Instructional Designers are essential in creating effective and engaging student learning experiences. However, the success of Instructional Design projects often depends on the collaboration between Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), who bring deep knowledge and expertise in the content areas taught. Working with SMEs to translate complex content into easy-to-understand language is critical but also challenging. This article will explore how Instructional Designers can work with SMEs to translate complex content into easy-to-understand language while maintaining course content and rigor at the appropriate level. We will also explore additional strategies Instructional Designers can use to improve collaboration with SMEs.

11 Steps To Translate Complex Content To Improve Comprehension

1. Establish Clear Objectives And Outcomes

Establishing clear objectives and outcomes is essential when working with SMEs. This process involves identifying the target audience and their learning needs, defining the learning objectives and outcomes, and ensuring that SMEs clearly understand what needs to be taught and how it should be presented. By working collaboratively with SMEs, Instructional Designers can ensure that the content is tailored to the specific needs of the learners.

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2. Build Strong Relationships With SMEs

Building strong relationships with SMEs is essential to the success of any Instructional Design project. Establishing open lines of communication, building trust and mutual respect, and creating a collaborative environment where ideas can be shared and feedback can be given and received is critical. By developing a solid rapport with SMEs, Instructional Designers can gain valuable insights into the content being taught and the best ways to present it to learners.

3. Conduct A Needs Analysis

Conducting a needs analysis is critical to identifying the specific learning needs of the target audience. Understanding the existing knowledge and skills of the learners, as well as any gaps or areas of weakness that need to be addressed, is vital. By conducting a thorough needs analysis, Instructional Designers can ensure that the content is tailored to the specific needs of the learners and that it is presented in a way that is easy for them to understand.

4. Use Storytelling And Analogies

Storytelling and analogies are effective ways to translate complex content into easy-to-understand language. These techniques can help learners visualize complex concepts and make them more relatable and understandable. Using real-world examples and analogies can help learners see how the content is relevant to their lives and why it is essential.

5. Incorporate Multimedia And Interactivity

Incorporating multimedia and interactivity is an effective way to engage learners and make complex content more accessible. This includes videos, animations, and interactive exercises to help learners visualize and understand difficult concepts. By incorporating multimedia and interactivity, Instructional Designers can create a more engaging and interactive learning experience that keeps learners motivated and focused.

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6. Conduct Usability Testing

Usability testing ensures that content is easy to understand and use. Gathering feedback from learners and SMEs and making adjustments as needed to improve the usability and effectiveness of the content is essential. By conducting usability testing, Instructional Designers can identify any areas of the course that may be difficult for learners to understand and make changes to improve the overall learning experience.

7. Use Effective Communication Strategies

Effective communication strategies are essential when working with SMEs. Communication barriers can arise due to the complexity of the content, differing levels of expertise, and different working styles. Effective communication strategies allow Instructional Designers to overcome these barriers and ensure that the collaboration with SMEs is productive.

8. Provide SMEs With Adequate Training

Providing SMEs with adequate training on Instructional Design principles, methods, and tools is critical. SMEs may have deep knowledge and expertise in their content area but may need more skills and knowledge to create effective instructional materials. Providing training can help SMEs understand Instructional Design principles and methods.

9. Review And Refine Content

Once the content has been simplified and organized, reviewing it with the Subject Matter Expert and making any necessary adjustments is essential. This process ensures that the content is accurate and still meets the requirements of the learning objectives. It’s also important to ensure the content is presented engagingly and interactively. Instructional Designers can use multimedia elements such as videos, infographics, and interactive activities to help learners understand complex content.

10. Develop Assessments And Evaluations

Assessments and evaluations are crucial to determine whether learners have understood the content and achieved the learning objectives. Instructional Designers work with Subject Matter Experts to develop assessments aligned with the learning objectives and accurately measure learners’ knowledge and skills. These assessments can take many forms, such as quizzes, case studies, simulations, and projects.

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11. Continuously Evaluate And Improve

Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts should continuously evaluate and improve the course content and delivery. This can be done through learner feedback, analyzing assessment data, and conducting course evaluations. Any necessary changes should ensure the content meets learners’ needs and achieves the desired learning outcomes.


Working with Subject Matter Experts is a critical aspect of Instructional Design. Subject Matter Experts bring expertise and knowledge of the content, while Instructional Designers bring expertise in designing effective and engaging learning experiences. Working together, Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts can create informative and engaging courses. The key is establishing a collaborative relationship based on mutual respect and a shared commitment to creating high-quality learning experiences. By following the steps outlined in this article, Instructional Designers can successfully translate complex content into easy-to-understand content for learners while keeping course content and rigor at the appropriate level.


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