As an instructional designer, you are advised to conduct an audience analysis before you design any instructional program. You need to understand your learners to be able to effectively communicate with them. How do you think the type of the audience will guide you in course design? It is easy to give important to the content and get absorbed in it while designing an eLearning courses, but we need to remember that it is the audience/ learners who steer the course design and content. Here are some of the implications of audience profiles on course design.
Chalking out the course vision, goals and outcomes: Understanding your audience or learners, helps you to create a vision for your course. You will be able to recognize the goals that the course is expected to achieve. You will be able to identify how the learning is translated by the learners while doing their jobs for better output. For example, if you are designing a course to explain safety procedures in a manufacturing unit, your vision of the course is to help learners realize the importance of following safety procedures and abiding by them at their workplace. The goal would be teach the safety procedures to learners. Once the learners take up the course, they are expected to practice all the safety procedures thereby reducing accidents at workplace. Only when you understand the audience, their work environment and motivation levels, would you be able to design courses that are relevant to them.
Identify the topics to be covered, type of assignments and activities: You need to know the existing skills and knowledge of the learners and the desired outcome. It is only based on this information that you will be able to identify the topics, the assignments and the activities that need to be included in the course. For example, if you are designing a course on Product Training for sales and marketing professionals, it helps to understand their existing knowledge about the products and expectations from the course. If you focus on the product and provide detailed inputs on the product to the sales team, the information may have little relevance when it comes to selling. Therefore, your choice of content will largely depend on who your target audience are.
Finalizing the learning strategy and content presentation: A learning strategy determines the approach you adopt to meet the learning objectives. The profile of your learners will determine the strategy you need to adopt. What is the medium in which the courses would be administered to them? Are they comfortable using computers? Your learner profiles help you decide on how to design the GUI, course navigation and the extent to which you use audio and video in the course. If the audience is not regular computer users and do not read much, it is important to use more visuals and include videos and animations in the course. If the learners need hands-on guidance for a software application, you might want to include a high level of simulations in the course.
Therefore, before you start creating the course design do ensure that you collect adequate information about your target audience. Irrespective of the time constraints, it is a good practice to send a questionnaire to your project manager or the client seeking information about your target learners. This will help you in designing a course that successfully meets the given objectives.
Subscribe to Our eLearning Design Blogs
Get CommLab's latest eLearning articles straight to your inbox. Enter your email address below:
As instructional designers, we always aim to design courses that reach the target audience effectively. We would never want to hear our learners say that the course was boring. We put all our efforts to make the course interesting and engaging.
But, it is essential that these efforts are put in a right way. Engaging the learner doesn’t mean just including interactivities. It is much more than having a few clicks of interactivities.
In my last blog, 20 Must Know Acronyms of E-learning – Part 1, we have seen some acronyms that are used in the world of e-learning. In this blog, we will look at some more acronyms.
11. JIT (Just-in-Time): Just-in-time learning systems enable learners to access online learning resources at the point of need. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. To employees, m-learning provides a similar facility to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Training enhances skills and abilities of employees to be aligned to changing business needs. It is well understood that assessments are vital components of e-learning courses. They are a medium to measure training outcomes. Assessments not only strengthen learning but also help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of a course.
It is well-known that assessments are a vital component of an e-learning course. Good assessments play an important role in enhancing the efficacy of the online course by helping evaluate the knowledge gained by the learner and reinforce the learning.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. In order to adhere to food safety regulations, one of our clients came up with a requirement for an e-learning course.
E-learning and m-learning are powerful learning methods; both are dynamic and effective ways to teach people. So then, what are the differences between and e-learning and m-learning methods?
E-learning involves a series of modules with in-depth subject-matter while m-learning involves smaller chunks of information which can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Modules are designed differently, depending on the kind of format used to learn. M-learning breaks the barriers of time and place and provides easy access to courses. E-learning also enables learners to access information anytime, anywhere through a laptop, and a stable environment is needed for the learner to take training.
As a college student, I had an opportunity to read Wings of Fire, the autobiography of the former Indian president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The story of the “missile man” who rose to great heights from humble beginnings is truly inspiring.
The sudden demise of this eminent scientist is a great loss to the country and has saddened millions. The life of Dr. Kalam is a testimony to the fact that determination and hard work can overcome the shackles of financial and other constraints.
There were a few letters marked “Never sent. Never signed” that were discovered in Abraham Lincoln’s desk after his death. When he was upset with someone he would write a letter expressing his anger but would refrain from sending it to the intended person. This practice allowed him to vent his anger, yet not allow needless or unpleasant consequences. One of the famous unsent letters was to Gen. George G Meade, who was blamed for letting Robert E Lee escape after Gettysburg. Unfortunately, in today’s age of social media, people have “lost the art of the unsent angry letter” – an expression used in a NY times article by Maria Konnikova.
It is common knowledge that good assessments play a key role in the making of an effective online course. They not only help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of the subject-matter, but also reinforce the learning effectively.