Sharpen your axe

Have you ever worked closely with a subject matter expert (SME) who politely handed you a 112-slide PowerPoint deck and said that that was the content to include in your 20-minute course? Have you ever gasped in utter despair and not known what to do with all that content except create text bullet after endless text bullet?

Well, we’re here to tell you that there’s hope for you. And it’s as simple as getting at the content-cutting axe – not a dull-edged, 'slash and burn' kind of an axe, but rather a sharp, finely honed instrument that’s much closer to a scalpel, really.

So here’s what you do. 

First, sit down with that SME and get him or her to commit to the 3-5 learning objectives that the course needs to cover – the things that the learner needs to be able to DO at the end of the day. These are the real takeaways of the course.

Next, map each and every one of the content slides back to one of those learning objectives (we sometimes create a table in a Word document to see how it all connects).

What? That content doesn’t map to an objective? Well then, out it goes. 

And it’s important to do this exercise WITH your SME so that he or she can see where the content that supports those learning objectives really is. Have them participate in this cutting exercise so that they can see what’s truly valuable.

If they still love all of that content, put it in a PDF document for people to read in their own time if they want to go deeper.

Then go out and sharpen your axe again for next time!