Five Steps to Creating Learner Personas: A Guide for Instructional Designers

Five Steps to Creating Learner Personas: A Guide for Instructional Designers by Leigh Anne Lankford

In the realm of instructional design, creating effective learning experiences requires more than just a thorough understanding of the subject matter. It demands a deep insight into the learners themselves – their needs, preferences, and motivations. This is where learner personas come into play, serving as invaluable tools to guide instructional designers in crafting engaging and impactful learning solutions. In this article, I’ll explore why learner personas are essential and provide a step-by-step guide on how to create them.

Understanding Learner Personas

Learner personas are fictional representations of the different types of learners who will engage with a particular learning experience. They are based on real data and insights gathered through research, surveys, interviews, and observations. These personas encompass various demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes that influence how individuals learn.

How to Create Learner Personas

  1. Determine Learner Group: First determine which group you are targeting. Are you focused on all the call center reps in the US? Are you writing a program for the front-line retail workers? The fictional personas you create need to be based on the actual groups to receive the learning.
  2. Gather Data: Start by collecting data through various methods such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observation. Gather information on learners’ demographics, backgrounds, prior knowledge, learning preferences, goals, challenges, and motivations. Real conversations with the group will provide the best information. Interview sample members in the actual role as well as their supervisors. Find out what is frustrating about their job? How do they feel about being assigned learning programs?
  3. Analyze the Data: Analyze the data to identify common patterns, themes, and trends among the target audience. Look for similarities and differences in learners’ characteristics, behaviors, and needs.
  4. Create the Personas: These are fictional. Most designers give each persona a name and include information such as a photo or illustration of the fictional character, a brief background story such as work history or education level, demographic information such as age, key characteristics, goals and challenges, and preferences. Don’t forget to validate them with representatives from the job role or group selected.
  5. Use Personas Throughout the Design Process: Incorporate learner personas into every stage of the instructional design process, from needs analysis and curriculum development to content creation, delivery, and evaluation. Continuously refer to the personas to ensure that the learning experience remains learner-centered and relevant.

Examples: Five Steps To Creating Learner Personas A Guide For Instructional Designers By Leigh Anne Lankford

Learner personas are invaluable tools for instructional designers seeking to create engaging, effective, and learner-centered learning experiences. By understanding the diverse needs, preferences, and motivations of their target audience, designers can develop learning solutions that maximize learner engagement, retention, and success. Invest time and effort in creating well-defined learner personas and reap the rewards of more impactful instructional design outcomes.

Are you looking for instructional designers skilled in creating learner personas? If so, reach out to TrainingPros today and let us provide you with the right instructional design consultant to start your project with confidence!

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Leighanne Lankford

Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, "playing it safe isn’t good enough." In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.
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Leighanne Lankford lives life outside of the lines. From walking on fire to rappelling down buildings, she lives by the mantra, “playing it safe isn’t good enough.” In her 30 years as a Learning and Development practitioner, thought-leader, and now business owner, Leighanne has always pushed boundaries and done things her way.

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