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Developing Learner Prototypes For Corporate eLearning: The Ultimate Guide

Are you ready to take your audience research to a whole new level? In this article, I'll share 5 tips and 3 benefits of developing learner prototypes in order to design customized online training experiences for your employees.
Developing Learner Prototypes For Corporate eLearning: The Ultimate Guide

5 Tips And 3 Benefits Of Developing Learner Prototypes For Corporate eLearning

Learner prototypes, or personas, are well-researched profiles that highlight the traits, goals, learning needs, and preferences of employee groups. In most cases, an online training program will consist of multiple learner prototypes. You can use virtually any criteria to divide your staff members into these distinct groups. This allows you to personalize your online training courses based on the backgrounds and performance objectives of every employee. To create effective learner personas you may want to keep this step-by-step walkthrough at-the-ready.

5 Tips To Develop Learner Prototypes

  1. Collect Data. 
    The first step for developing learner prototypes is gathering as much data as possible. This might include conducting surveys, focus groups, interviews, and workplace observations. Holding interviews with management and asking your employees to complete task and skills assessments are also valuable audience research methods. They goal is to explore their backgrounds, levels of experience, professional knowledge base, and performance gaps so that you can create effective learner prototypes.
  2. Analyze Findings.
    After you’ve collected data, it’s time to analyze your findings and identify trends. Ideally, you should be looking for traits, learning needs, and goals that employees have in common, as this will allow you to eventually separate them into groups. Try to find key similarities that certain corporate learners share. For example, you might notice that one set of employees prefers mobile learning, while another is hesitant to tech-based online training. You may even want to enlist the help of department heads or upper management, who can offer greater insight into which employees might fall into which categories.
  3. Create Learner Prototypes.
    Start develop specific learner prototypes based on all of the information that you’ve gathered and all of your analysis findings. Be as detailed as possible when creating your corporate learner groups, but don’t narrow the scope so much that you end up with just one or two employees in each prototype. Performance behaviors, skills, needs, goals, personality traits, experience, and opinions are all important areas to consider. The goal is to get a complete picture which encompasses all of the necessary data that will allow you to design more relatable and targeted online training content for your corporate learners.
  4. Utilize the Prototype.
    The main purpose of creating learner prototypes is to be able to put yourself inside the shoes of your employees. After you've developed a clear idea of what each learner group requires, you must put your learner prototype into action and use it to immerse yourself in the role of each prototype. Bring in your graphic designers, Subject Matter Experts, and any other collaborators who can help you identify which online training activities and content are ideally suited for the task. Determine what your employee groups already know, what they need to know, and how you can fill the gap with the resources and tools at your disposal. Learner prototypes can also help set the tone of your online training content. For example, one group might require a more conversational tone with limited jargon, while another may call for a professional and authoritative tone that is paired with more advanced terminology.
  5. Update your Learner Prototypes.
    One of the most important to things to remember about learner prototypes is that they are a work in progress, to some extent. Yes, you must develop a detailed profile for each persona, but you must also be ready to modify and revise that profile based upon the evolving needs of your employees. This is why it's essential to measure the effectiveness of your online training programs periodically, in order to verify if the learner prototypes are still on target. For example, if your projected sales goals are not being reached you can go back to the drawing board and reevaluate the prototypes you've created for your sales staff. It's also wise to conduct audience research from time to time to make certain that your learner prototypes have up-to-date information that reflects the current traits, needs, and goals of your employees. Surveys, task evaluations, skill assessments, and focus groups are all great research tools.

3 Benefits Of Developing Learner Prototypes

  1. Create more personalized online training experiences.
    Learner prototyping offers you the power to delve into the backgrounds of your employees and identify their preferences and learning needs. Thus, if a particular group prefers to take their online training with them, you can create mobile learning activities that they can access anywhere. Some corporate learners can benefit from eLearning videos and online presentations, while those who favor text-based online training content might benefit from bullet point lists and interactive manuals.
  2. Makes it easier to identify learner needs and goals.
    Developing learner prototypes allows your organization to custom tailor every online training course to meet the learning needs, goals, and personal objectives of your employees. You can analyze stats, survey findings, and other invaluable data to figure out what each group requires and how you can provide it for them.
  3. Ensures that all eLearning team members are on the same page.
    A learner prototype contains all of the key information your eLearning team needs to develop meaningful and memorable online training content. In most cases, you would create a full description that includes their background, experience level, performance gaps, necessary skills, and other need-to-know facts. This description can then be shared with every member of your eLearning team, to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your corporate learners' profiles.

Learner prototypes give you the ability to create targeted online training programs that are custom tailored for your organization. They also increase employee satisfaction and retention rates, as each staff member receives the individualized online training they need to enhance their performance.

Would you like to learn more about conducting in depth audience research? Read the article 5 Hidden Benefits Of Conducting eLearning Audience Research to discover all the unexpected benefits of eLearning audience research that you may want to bear in mind.

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