Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Identifying the target audience, part of Instructional Design: Needs Analysis.
Understanding the target audience for a training program can help us tailor the program to meet their needs. Here are a few questions that are typically asked about the audience during a training needs analysis. What is their profile? How large is the audience? Where is the audience located? Are their needs roughly the same, or are they very different? The answers to these questions can impact the scope of training, how the training is delivered and whether or not we need to use a different approach for different audience segments.
Let's take a closer look at how these questions might affect our training. An Audience Profile will give us a better understanding of their backgrounds, experience and what they already know. It can also help us pinpoint some potential challenges. For example, what would you do if you discovered your intended audience included of both English and Spanish speakers? You might have the training materials translated into both languages. Perhaps you'd ensure a bilingual trainer or an interpreter was available if all employees were going to attend the same class.
The size and location of our audience can also have a big impact on our training. Imagine you have to design a compliance training class for bank tellers. How might your approach change for different audience sizes? You might be able to do an on-site class if your audience consists of five tellers at one branch. A community bank with five branches and 20 tellers might require multiple classes, or perhaps a webinar-based training session. A national bank with 500 branches and 2,000 tellers would require a different strategy entirely.
You might need to create an e-learning program so that all the tellers could take the training at different times. Your training audience may also have different needs. Let's say you need to design a product knowledge class. The specific product knowledge needed could depend on each person's role. Sales might want to know how to sell it. Customer support might want to know the answer to frequently asked questions. Shipping might want to know how to pack and ship the products. Let's go back to the interview skills training example. I learned a few things about the audience in my meeting with Stacy Jones, the regional Vice President.
Can you tell me a little bit about the supervisors in your region? Let's start with, how many and where are they located? >> Well, there's a total of 50 supervisors in the midwest region. They're spread across 14 locations. So there's three to five supervisors at each location depending on the size. >> Do you want them all to go through the training? >> Yeah, there's a wide range of experience, so for instance my newest supervisor was promoted last month, but I also have supervisors who've been in the role for 12 years. So since there's going to to be a new interview procedure, I think that they would all benefit from the training.
>> So you mentioned that someone was promoted from within. Are most supervisors promoted from within? >> Yeah I would say about 90% of our supervisors come up through the ranks. >> Stacy was able to give us some information about the supervisors who will be training that could be very valuable. Let's summarize what she shared. Audience Profile. Experiences ranges from one month to 12 years, and 90% of supervisors have been promoted from within. Size and Location. 50 supervisors at 14 locations, and those locations are spread throughout the midwest region.
We still don't know if supervisors in Stacy's region have different needs, but it's something we can investigate later. The Project Sponsor Interview Questions Worksheet contains the same audience overview questions I asked Stacy. You can use them when meeting with a sponsor for one of your own projects.
- Setting project objectives
- Identifying the target audience for training
- Selecting data sources
- Facilitating focus groups and interviews
- Designing effective surveys
- Identifying participant needs
- Defining learning outcomes
- Presenting results to project sponsors