Piecing Together The Puzzle Of Your Ultimate eLearner Profile

How To Build Your eLearner Profile

Do you know your target audience? Who do they identify with? Who are their influencers? With buzwords like “buyer persona” and “customer profile” popping up everywhere, there’s no better time to visit (or re-visit) these questions. But in the eLearning industry, it’s less about defining your ideal customer and more about defining your actual learner for creating the ultimate eLearner Profile.

There are a lot of resources that will tell you “how to create interesting content,” or “how to keep learners engaged” (I may have written some of those myself). But if you aren’t clear about who your specific learners are, you’re not ready for that part.

So whether you’re teaching a classroom of 16-year-olds the rules of the road or an office of middle-aged employees the rules of retirement planning, starting with a profile will help you create a successful learning environment. Here are the pieces of the eLearner profile puzzle:

5 Pieces Of The eLearning Profile

Piece 1 - Demographics

Often times who you’re targeting is a more important first step than what you are teaching them. Because we all learn differently through different stages of our lives, the type of teaching or training we respond best to may differ. If you are a Gen Xer and most of your colleagues are Gen Y’s, it is likely your learning styles and preferences are different, so take that into consideration.

Piece 2 - Characters in a story

Offices are filled with different characters-- the Tech Genius, the Meticulous Project Manager, etc. Ivana Taylor talks, in a recent blog post with the title "8 Creative Ways To Profile Ideal Customers", about putting them together as part of a story. Thinking of your learners as characters in a story can help you better put teams together for training sessions or help you to decide who fits best together on a discussion board.

Piece 3 - Technology

In a world of multi-taskers, online learning is filled with distractions, which is why you need to think about technology from your learners perspective. For example, a majority of your employees have a long commute, podcasts could be a great way to utilize that time. When it comes to the Gen Z or the “Digital Generation” creating this perfect profile is a whole new ball game.

Piece 4 - Content Type

Once you’ve decided on the type of technology you plan to use, it’s time to think about content. Will your learners engage best with a vibrant powerpoint presentation or should you use video? The best advice I have when it comes to content is to change it up to keep things interesting. Survey your learners to see how they’re responding to different types of content. Then, continue doing what works and change up what doesn’t.

Piece 5 - Content length

Are you training distracted teenagers? A group of busy parents? Maybe you should break up your learning sessions so that they’re shorter and involve multiple types of content. It doesn’t mean you have to cut things out-- just work on your session length and variety to keep your learners interested and involved.

The Final Piece

It’s all about putting the human touch back into the puzzle. Taking a step back and creating the Learner Profile will ensure that you don’t lose sight of the fact that there’s a human on the other side of the portal. Maybe it’s time to take a quick assessment of your situation and see what other ways you could reach your students, with this puzzle in mind?

Have you found additional ways to target your learners?