Discover strategies and tactics to identify your target audience and develop empathy for your learners.
- [Instructor] Before you dive into storyboarding, it's imperative to know who you're creating this learning experience for. Find out as much as possible about your learners. This information should directly impact your design and content choices. Go beyond thinking about your target audience as a role, such as managers, or directors. Depending on the project, you'll want to find out the beginning knowledge base of your learners. If you aren't sure, you might want to send out some kind of pre-assessment to gauge their base knowledge. Also, consider the experience level and what skill sets the learners already possess.
Designing an e-learning experience for the C-suite of a Fortune 500 company will be very different than for entry level employees at a startup. Keep in mind, you must challenge the learner so they're stretched, but not too far, and not too little. To far will just cause frustration, and too little will make it seem too easy and they'll lose interest. So the experience levels of the audience will affect the types of activities incorporated into your storyboards, and ultimately, the course. Research is key here in creating a successful e-learning storyboard.
Digging deep the really understand who you are designing for, will inform your why. So here are a few ways to dig deeper, and identify your audience. Interview stakeholders, their perspective is always a crucial first step. It's also common to send out surveys. If you go this route, keep them simple and short, and let them know it's simple and short in your request email, otherwise you might not be likely to get a lot of responses. Conduct one-on-one interviews and focus groups if you have time.
This doesn't have to be a big production. If you're building a course for small business owners for instance, go out and visit a couple. Ask them questions, and try to understand their pain points. The best thing I found, is to just observe learners in their active environment. For instance, if you're creating a course for a customer service call center, you need to go listen to at least a few calls to understand their environment, and some of the challenges they're facing. Understand that your learner will bring with them past experiences, aspirations to future goals, expectations, technological know-how or not, cultural influences, and a host of other things that make the human learning experience a complex beast.
Understanding your target audience is all about developing empathy for your learners. Once you can put yourself in the learner's shoes, you can then begin to design an impactful experience with them in mind. Okay, back to our course scenario here, we've identified our audience as senior-level managers with at least five years experience in the role. They have a basic working knowledge of coaching best practices, and through our observations, we found that they overachievers and have a strong passion for excellence.
So for more information on identifying a target audience, definitely take a look at my colleague Jeff Toister's course, Instructional Design: Needs Analysis, where he goes into a lot more detail on identifying a target audience for a training program.
- Benefits of storyboarding
- Identifying stakeholders and requirements and goals
- Storyboard elements
- Storyboarding with text, animation, scenarios, and knowledge checks
- Communicating with stakeholders