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How to Identify Subject Matter Experts

As your training programme grows, you’ll need plenty of fresh content on a regular basis to keep your learners engaged. Producing the content isn’t a problem when you have a great team of instructional designers. When they have the right tools at their disposal, it’s even easier.

However, every piece of learning content you create needs the input of a subject matter expert. These people have grown their expertise to become the chief authority on a particular topic. Often, you’ll find that you don’t know who these experts are. Furthermore, even the expert might not realise that they are the expert!

Today, we’re going to show you how the social features on our Academy LMS help you identify subject matter experts.

Case Study: Game Shack

Game Shack have led the way for retail video game sales since they first opened their doors in the early ‘90s. Now that internet retailers have moved into their turf, they need to work even harder to maintain their edge. Luckily, they have something that their online competitors don’t: the expertise and service of their dedicated staff.

New games are released all of the time, and it’s a constant battle to provide the necessary product training to everyone. The L&D team are under a lot of pressure to create this training content on top of their everyday duties.

Insight Groups to the rescue!

Game Shack have a powerful tool at their disposal in the form of the Academy LMS. The system is built with powerful gamification and social features. This keeps employees engaged with the training and it also acts as a space for informal learning to flourish.

One of the social features on the Academy is Insight Groups. The L&D team can easily create specific discussion areas on the platform that let their employees focus on the things that interest them. Here’s how Insight Groups help identify the real experts in Game Shack:

1. Identify an expertise

The first thing the Game Shack admins need to do is choose an expertise to focus on. Game Shack have noted that their sales figures in the RPG category aren’t as high as they could be. Several comments have appeared on social media from disgruntled customers complaining that the staff aren’t aware of big RPG titles. It’s clear that their biggest priority is to find an expert on RPGs who can share knowledge throughout the company.

2. Create an Insight Group

Now that they know where their knowledge gaps are, the Game Shack L&D department know where they need to focus. Creating formal content for every title would be great, but with their existing responsibilities, it’s just not possible. They need to drive discussion and increase visibility on the topic. The best solution, in this case, is to create an Insight Group. This is easily done in the admin area of the LMS. Once the design team have worked their magic, they now have an attractive space.

3. Invite everyone

Now, it’s time to make a little noise about the new Insight Group. Insight Groups can be locked to Invite-Only mode, but in this case, Game Shack want to grant access to everyone with an interest in RPGs. The main dashboard of the Academy LMS features a prominent social feed and this is the best place to promote new learning initiatives. The platform admin simply creates a post and pins it to the top of the feed. It’s also possible to include Insight Groups within learning paths, but for now, we’re keeping it simple!

4. Start conversations

It would be very lucky if spontaneous conversations broke out on a brand new Insight Group, but typically, potential contributors need an extra push. The best way to do this is to ask a question like “what’s your favourite RPG?”. This is a great way to get people excited about the topic and relate it to their own experience. Later on, the conversation can be steered to more specific topics like upcoming releases. With an active discussion group, all the admin really needs to do is to plant the seed with a simple post. It could simply be a link to a trailer for a new game. After that, the contributors themselves create informal learning content around it.

5. Identify experts

Once the Insight Group has been created, and a few discussions have broken out, it needs to run for a few weeks to allow the real experts to rise to the fore. Ordinarily, the most active contributors might be lost in the mix, but here’s where the gamification features come in. Every time somebody posts or comments, they earn points that are specific to that Insight Group. Each insight group has its own leaderboard, called the Top Contributors board. Now, all the admin needs to do to discover the expert in RPGs, is look at the board and see who is at the top.


6. Grant Expert Status

On the Academy LMS, ‘Expert’ isn’t just a title given to people at the top of Top Contributor boards – it’s a specific user-type with its own set of permissions and abilities. The administrator of the Game Shack platform can get in touch with the biggest RPG aficionado and give them the chance to become an expert. Depending on the needs of the organisation, this can require further assessment, but when it comes to granting that status, it’s as easy as checking a box in the user’s profile.

Expert Status

So, Game Shack has found the RPG Expert in their organisation – what now? Naturally, the L&D department know where to go if they need help with future RPG training content, but the Academy LMS goes one step further.

As we mentioned, Expert status grants a host of extra permissions within the system. To see how these work, we need to look at the Chat and Experts area. This section is accessible by any other user on the platform. It displays every user who has been assigned expert status along with their expertise.

Chat and Experts

If another learner needs to know something about RPGs, all they need to do is click on Chat and Experts, and find our intrepid RPG Ace in the list. Once they’ve found who they’re looking for, they have two options: They can chat live with the expert if they happen to be online, or they can ask them a question.


The Expert will be notified via email and they’ll also see a notification on their dashboard when they next log on to the Game Shack platform.


Any question that an Expert has answered is added to a growing bank of knowledge. Once again, any other user on the system can access the FAQ area and search for anything they need, or simply browse around.

In Game Shack’s case, this is something that’s particularly useful. Since their product catalogue expands on a weekly basis, a central area for up-to-date knowledge is essential.

What’s next?

The Expert functionality on the Academy is a great tool for encouraging and capturing informal learning. There are plenty of additional benefits that come along with it. On a standard LMS, the only real goal for the learner is to complete their training. If the learners know that an ‘Expert’ status exists, it gives them a target to aim for, which boosts engagement throughout the platform.

The Experts functionality also helps create a knowledge sharing culture in the organisation. As the nature of L&D evolves, there will be a greater focus on encouraging those with the knowledge to pass it on to those in need.

In this way, mentorship skills will become increasingly important in professional development. The Experts tool creates a simple way to manage this process and help employees grow their mentorship skills.

This is just one of the features on the Academy that can prepare your organisation for the future of L&D. If you want to see what else it can do, just click the button below to book a tour!

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