18 October 2017
Posted by: Katie Spackman
Learner-centred design (LCD) has become increasingly popular in learning, especially technology-enhanced learning. As globalisation, technology and the cultural shifts have changed our working environment, they have also led to significant improvements in access to professions. Many associations have a far more diverse student population today than they did 20 years ago. That diversity includes language, age, work experience, home life and many other factors.
With a broad range of learners to support, learning designers need a mechanism to help everyone in the organisation to have a common understanding of the target learners.
One way to maintain this learner focus is to develop personas. Personas are detailed descriptions of a fictional individual who represents a typical learner, all on a single side of A4 paper. The persona includes demographic information, educational background, experience and factors that might support or detract from their studies.
The most important thing to remember when developing personas is – don’t make them up!
5 steps to developing personas
Here are 5 steps to developing personas –
1. Create your persona template
Personas are widely used in marketing and there are many free resources that you can repurpose.
2. Get data
Use existing quantitative data from your student databases to identify groups of students who behave in the same way. Aim for a maximum of 5 groups. If you don’t have this data, use a free tool such as Survey Monkey to send out questionnaires.
3. Get more data
Do interviews with learners from each of the groups to get the rich qualitative data that will reveal the real struggles and motivators of your learners.
4. Complete your learner persona templates
Use information from your real learners to create your personas – remember to name them and make them realistic.
5. Use your personas
Make sure everyone in your organisation knows and uses the personas.
• Free persona templates Hubspot.com.
• Useful tips from a leading eLearning firm Kineo.com http://www.kineo.com/blog/creating-personas-that-work-5-tips-from-a-marketing-professional
• More tips from Learning Solutions magazine https://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/1786/agile-learner-personas-for-instructional-design
Article by Valli Rajagopal, Senior Executive in eLearning Design at Digital-Learn