Designing for learners means better solutions
Marketers use customer-centric strategies when creating advertisements to specifically target segments of their audience. One is to use buyer personas, which are prototypical representations of their audience segments, to create relevant ads that are more likely to drive customer action. The learning and development (L&D) equivalent is the person learning.
Effective learning strategies do not stereotype learners, but instead employ learners to focus on targeting. This includes considering the demographics, education and skill levels, motivation, needs, goals, learning habits, online habits, etc. of your students when designing learning materials.
The meaning of the learner profile
A student profile allows you to analyze your specific audience (your student). A typical student profile displays an overview of the student’s needs, wishes and behavior. These detailed descriptions allow you to create not only more effective programs, but also more engaging ones. Putting a name and a face to student statistics makes it easier to understand what students need. At each decision point, course designers can ask, “What does Ava need?” or “what does Ava want?”
Design for students, not demographics
By creating a learner persona, you can go beyond typical audience analysis and create a vivid picture of who you’re designing the learning experience or materials for. This means collecting more than simple demographic data. Ideally, you will capture this data through interaction with students. This will provide a deeper understanding to your students, leading to greater accuracy.
Steps to create student personas
If you’re looking to move from mediocre content to more exceptional learning content, designing for learners may be just what you need. To get started, follow these steps:
1. Gather information about Student Personas
The first step to developing a student personality is to gather information about specific students. The persona of the final disciple will reflect a hypothetical archetype rather than someone in reality. However, the information on which the persona is based should come from extensive interviews with the sample audience members and supervisors conducted by subject-level experts. The interview should ask the student questions about:
- Basic demographic information, including age, family and where they live
- A typical day for them, especially related to the relevant eLearning course
- The circumstances of their work environment, including frustration, relationships and skill level
- Their needs
2. Analyze the information
After conducting interviews and gathering information, it is important to analyze the information with audience members and supervisors. Analysis of the information should yield a selection of archetypal personalities with similar characteristics, behaviors and needs. In the marketing world, we usually have multiple personalities that reflect different market segments. However, your information will trend showing the primary student persona along with one or two secondary personas.
3. Write The Learner Personas
Once you’ve collected and analyzed the information, the next step is to convert it into a more concise format that’s useful for your team. Learner personalities are often shown to the team through presentation slides or printed and posted on the workplace wall for ongoing reference. When creating your personas, look for images that capture their essence and help you think of the real students represented by the personas. Our company used a mannequin that felt ubiquitous and was useful for bringing a personality perspective into our learning. A person should include:
- Patterns of behavior
- Goals, both long-term and short-term
- Attitudes, beliefs and opinions
- Context and background information about these areas of a person’s life
4. Implement The Learner Personas
Having full size mannequins in the office really helped our team remember the student. Everyone should have the student’s personality in mind when making decisions. A person should enter every course design conversation as a member of the design team. For example:
- What does Ava already know about this topic?
- What design elements will help Ava succeed in the course? In her life?
- Does Ava care about training?
- Will he understand the jargon used?
By using learner personas, you can ensure that your learner engages with your content and feels heard and understood. Using them on a daily basis will also ensure that your team stays on the same page with your instructional design, producing high-value content that benefits your student, while driving better outcomes for both students and the needs of the organization.
Instantly improve your learning strategy
Knowing your audience is essential to achieving the best results. Without the personality of the learner in the workplace, it is difficult to stay in tune with the needs, behaviors and thought processes of the learner. By following the steps above and using a learner, your company’s learning strategy will immediately improve. Regularly referring to the exact person will create more uniformity as each team member will have a better understanding of the typical student. In return, you will be able to meet more student needs and have a more efficient program overall.
Originally published on www.beyondthesky.ca.