Laine Istvan, March 30, 2019, 2 min read
You might think of a persona as a way of presenting yourself to the world. And you would be right! But when it comes to Instructional Design, personas are an essential part of understanding your audience and designing them in mind.
A persona is not an actual person, rather it is an embodiment of your ideal, hypothetical learner who will be enrolling in the course you are designing (Gutierrez, 2013, para. 4). Not only do the learners often share some of the same demographics, they often have common training goals, job responsibilities, educational background, and/or skill level, but not always (Malamed, 2017, para. 3).
Interview, surveys, and real conversations are the best way to connect with your audience and truly understand their scope and needs. It’s best to avoid making guesses or jumping straight to a stereotype of the learner. Keep it as authentic as possible and refer back to the persona often during the design process (Malamed, 2017). By doing so, you allow yourself to create “more effective, more engaging and more educational content the learner can put to use immediately” (Gutierrez, 2013, para 2).
Using ToonDoo.com, I created the persona of myself (above), as well as 2 different personas (below) for use in a project this week. As you can see, they both have similar educational goals, but their demographics and work history vary a great deal. As learners who will be engaging in an online learning community with peers that are not local, their instruction and objective will focus on Google Docs. What is your opinion of these personas as they relate to the learning objective? Do you think that they fit the mold?
Personas will help you connect with your audience and make your instruction more effective. Tailor your instruction to your learners and they will be grateful to you for using their time effectively and, ultimately, making their learning journey a pleasant experience.
Gutierrez, K. (2013, July 4). The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Creating Learner Personas. Retrieved from https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/302513/The-Ultimate-Cheat-Sheet-for-Creating-Learner-Personas
Malamed, C. (2017, December 30). Learner Personas for Instructional Design. Retrieved from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/audience/learner-personas-for-elearning/