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eLearning Design for Learners with Diverse Backgrounds

 

Posted on Mon, 25/08/2014 - 10:02

In the world of software design and eLearning, getting to know your end-users is critically important for a variety of reasons. Take an average mid-level business, for example- there will be employees that encompass various age groups, professional backgrounds, reading levels, computer proficiency levels, and dozens of other demographics that will define how each user learns. While it is certainly a challenge to cater to all of these audiences at once, there is a number of ways to accomplish this task.

How Do Learners Really Learn?

To compound those problems even further, there is no definitive blueprint on how individuals learn. Some students may be highly visual people who have to see the concept to understand it. Others may learn better through repetition or with instruction that shows the same concept several different ways. Designing an eLearning title all comes down to anticipating the various needs of the students involved, and then executing a plan to meet those needs as thoroughly as possible.Communication in eLearning

Since the goal is knowledge retention, a needs analysis is always the first step in getting to know your audience. In fact, absolutely nothing should be taken for granted during this initial process. Should the narrator speak like a college professor, for example, or should he sound a lot more informal like a co-worker would? How much industry jargon should be incorporated? Seemingly tiny decisions like these can have profound effects on the learning process.

Overcoming the “Curse of Knowledge”

Another problem in the educational segment is overcoming the “curse of knowledge” within certain genres. For instance, when an individual is so familiar with the industry/segment, they make assumptions based on their own experiences because they cannot “see the other side.”

So how do you ensure that you’ll avoid the curse of knowledge in your training efforts? There are several ways to avoid this pitfall, and each of them starts with taking a step back and identifying who the software is ultimately being designed for. If it is for new hire employees, for example, then very little should be taken for granted when it comes to things like industry jargon or company procedures. The same training for senior level employees may have an entirely different tone/feel since much more can be discussed without extra clarification.

Catering to Many Different Viewpoints

Besides seniority levels and industry experience, there are also a number of other differences to consider when training employees. A few of them are-

  • Educational backgrounds

  • Overall reading/writing levels

  • Computer proficiency

  • Age levels (and emotional maturity)

  • Preferred learning styles

One of the areas that we really pride ourselves on at Designing Digitally, Inc. is taking the time to get to know your audience and all of their unique learning requirements. By working alongside each corporation’s designated instructor, we have a long history of delivering the perfect software solution that exceeds our clients’ training needs. For more information, please contact us directly at 866-316-9126 or request a free quote.