Do you you know what your typical learner desires or expects from your course? What are their typical challenges, frustrations, fears and mistakes that they make? What questions do they frequently ask? By answering these questions you can build up a Prototypical Learner persona that helps with specifically targeting course announcements, instructions, FAQs and evaluation and analysis activities making your online course learner-centred.
Interview or Imagine your Learner
Interviewing, surveying or imagining your typical learner can lead to great insights to add to your Prototypical Learner persona.
Ask yourself or them:
- What background knowledge or skills do they have in your field?
- What do they already know coming into your course?
- What can they already do coming into your course?
- What is their biggest challenge with your topic?
- What are they afraid of or what stops them from learning? What barriers do they have?
- What mistakes do they typically make and what was the thinking behind those mistakes?
- What questions do they want answered by your course?
- What do they think or believe about your topic?
- What do they currently believe about their own abilities in your topic?
Put the Prototypical Learner Persona somewhere visible and revisit
When you are creating any element in your online course, be it a set of instructions, course announcement, answering a question, or creating a piece of assessment, refer back to your Prototypical Learner persona as a jumping off point for thinking about what to include or leave out along with wording and design choices.
While running your course, reflect on or ask the learner/s the questions about themselves and their thoughts and beliefs. Add to or refine your reflection notes about your Prototypical Learner to further clarify who your learners are and where they are coming from.
When you keep your Prototypical Learner in mind when designing and running your course, your course automatically becomes learner-centred in everything that it teaches.
Belinda Allan is an education advisor who is dedicated to empowering lifelong learners. By exploring the intersection of technology, personal development and learning futures, Belinda uses her expertise in education, IT and AI to guide individuals in creating the course or training program of their dreams. With a focus on how AI can drive productivity and well-being in the ever-changing landscape of education and work, Belinda will help you unlock your full potential.
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