10 Questions To Get To Know Your Online Learners

10 Questions To Get To Know Your Online Learners
Summary: The first step in creating an eLearning course is figuring out who you are creating it for in the first place. In this article, I’ll highlight 10 questions that will help you get to know your online learners, so that you can design eLearning courses that make their mark.

Get To Know Your Online Learners: 10 Questions For eLearning Professionals

Without knowing what your online learners need, what they expect from the eLearning course, and, most importantly, who they are as individuals, you simply cannot create a personalized eLearning experience. You must learn as much as possible about their background, goals, and preferences to make the eLearning course engaging and truly effective. But how do you get to know your eLearning audience without face-to-face communication? The answer is asking targeted questions that give you the opportunity to research their needs, wants, and expectations.

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  1. What skills do they currently possess?
    In order to give your online learners the skills they need to effectively fulfill their job duties or improve their personal lives, you must first identify where their skills stand now. This is the gap that you will have to fill by creating targeted eLearning content for your audience. For example, if they are a bit shaky when it comes to technology skills, then you will need to focus on eLearning activities and exercises that strengthen that specific skill set, such as interactive scenarios and tutorials.
  2. What is their preferred learning environment?
    One of the perks of virtual training is that your online learners can access it anywhere at any time. However, this also means that eLearning professionals must take the learning environment into consideration when designing their eLearning courses. For example, if your learners will be accessing the online course in a busy office or while they are commuting on the train, then they will definitely need to be able to adjust the volume and pause the interactive exercises and videos. This question gives you the opportunity to learn more about where and when your online learners will be participating in the online course, so that you can adjust your eLearning content accordingly.
  3. Do they have any negative past eLearning experiences?
    The simple truth is that not all eLearning experiences are pleasant. If your learners have had a negative experience with eLearning in the past, then that could stand in the way of them actively participating. The same rule applies to the subject matter itself. If they have struggled to master a specific skill or build their topical knowledge base, that could be a roadblock now. To custom tailor the eLearning experience to meet their needs and address their concerns, learn as much as possible about the less-than favorable eLearning experiences that are still fresh in their minds.
  4. What do they expect to take away from the eLearning course?
    Every member of your audience is participating in the eLearning course for one very important reason; they want to learn something. By asking this question, you have the chance to figure out exactly what they want to get out of the eLearning experience, what online activities and exercises they expect, and what information they need to know when they’ve completed the eLearning course in order to improve their personal or professional lives.
  5. Do they have the time to actively participate?
    This question allows you to determine exactly how much time your learners actually have set aside for eLearning, so that you can create an eLearning experience that fits into their schedules. If you create online modules that last half an hour and they only realistically have ten minutes to participate every day, then they probably aren’t likely to log in to the eLearning platform on a regular basis. Keep in mind that most adult learners lead busy lives when designing your eLearning content in order to make it flexible and easily accessible.
  6. Are they comfortable with eLearning?
    Yes, we may be living in a tech-centric age, but there are some learners who still aren’t particularly comfortable with technology. This is why it’s essential to determine just how tech-savvy your audience is, which enables you to integrate interactive online courses that don’t venture too far out of their comfort zone. With that being said, you can also offer them online tutorials and walkthroughs that help them improve their tech skills.
  7. Do they use social media?
    There are certain online learners who practically live on social media sites, while others may not be too familiar with social networking. If you are planning on using any sort of social learning in your eLearning strategy, such as Twitter, blogs, or forums, then you will need to figure out which tools your online learners prefer and access on a regular basis. Then you can personalize their eLearning experience by reaching them on online platforms they already use and are familiar with.
  8. Do they view the eLearning course as a learning opportunity?
    This may seem like a rather vague question, but it can actually give the power to determine if your online learners see the true value of your eLearning course. Have you stressed the real world benefits and applications enough, or do you need to more effectively explain why they should actively participate in the eLearning experience? Remember, it’s all about motivation, and this question allows you to identify whether you are working with unmotivated learners or those who are ready to take on the challenge.
  9. What personal obstacles might stand in the way of eLearning?
    Each and every learner who logs into your eLearning platform has real-life issues or challenges that may prevent them from completing the eLearning course. They may be feeling a great deal of stress at work or have issues at home. The key is, without being too invasive, helping them overcome these issues by offering them a flexible schedule and a variety of different ways to learn, such as eLearning scenarios and text-based stories. Make it easy for them to squeeze eLearning into their lives without putting even more weight on their shoulders.
  10. What are their goals and objectives?
    This is definitely one of the most important questions to ask when conducting audience research. You need to know what their personal and professional goals are so that you can create eLearning content that helps them achieve success. Every eLearning activity, every interactive exercise should include a skill or piece of knowledge that takes them one step closer to reaching the finish line.


Ask these 10 all-important questions before you develop your eLearning course to create eLearning experiences that are effective and inspiring. Also, keep in mind that the answers are only useful if you actually take them into consideration during every step of the development process.

Looking for ways to appeal to a wider eLearning audience? Read the article 6 Tips To Design eLearning Courses That Appeal To A Wider eLearning Audience to learn about 6 top tips that can help you reach even more online learners, regardless of their physical location or background.

Last but not least, visit our Top Content Providers To Help You Conduct Training Needs Analysis list to find the right outsourcing partner to help you evaluate your audience and identify areas for L&D improvement. You can read customer reviews, check out company highlights, and compare top solutions to simplify your search. These companies can help you choose the best type of training for your teams based on your learners’ needs and training objectives. You’ll also discover the next steps, tips to select the right vendor, and the benefits of conducting a TNA for your organization.