If you’re exploring the corporate eLearning industry, and the possibilities it can hold for your organization, you’ll likely notice one of the first pieces of advice you frequently hear is to know your audience.
Getting to know your audience is typically the very first step you need to take when creating eLearning, if you want it to be effective and to resonate with your employees. If you don’t first know your audience, on a thorough level, you’re not going to get the best possible return on your investment for your training and development eLearning.
The next question probably becomes, how do I get to know my audience? You need to conduct an analysis of your employees, just as you would analyze your competitors or your customers.
Here are the five steps you should take in order to perform an analysis before you begin creating any eLearning content:
- Know the goal. The first step of analyzing your audience doesn’t depend on them as much as it does on your organization. If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve with your corporate eLearning, how can it ever be effective? Your goals are going to determine the course you take with the design of your eLearning content, whether your goal is to simply teach a new skill or have employees undergo safety training, or perhaps instead your focus is on employee development. Regardless of what it is, be clear and concise, as well as very specific.
- Consider past education. You can’t create new eLearning without first knowing the education level of your audience, and you may also need to do some digging to find out the learning abilities of your audience. While every individual is going to have a unique background and learning style, when you’re creating corporate eLearning you’re likely to find some broad, overarching similarities within the group you’re targeted. For example, if your goal is to teach OSHA safety standards to your manufacturing employees, they may have a similar educational background, as can hold true for employees you’re targeting for executive leadership training. This step, along with step four may require you to collaborate with your HR department, and analyze data, particularly if you’re targeting a large group of employees.
- Think about the technical. When you’re creating eLearning, you not only need to consider the educational, but also the technical background of your employees. For example, are you creating eLearning for a group of Milennials? If so, they’re probably going to very comfortable with a range of technology, whereas training targeted at your Baby Boomer employees may differ in the technical complexity.
- How long has the learner been with your company? It’s important to think about how long your targeted audience has been with your company before you create any eLearning. This is something to focus on because if you’re creating basic training content for new hires, you probably need to extensively delve into issues of corporate culture, your mission statement, and more basic information about your company. When you’re targeting an audience that’s been with your company for several years or more, you can keep it on a need-to-know basis and skip much of this information, which your audience will likely see as superfluous and unnecessary, thereby reducing their sense of engagement.
- Where do the knowledge gaps lie? You are going to be wasting your time and efforts, as well as those of your employees if you’re repetitive with the information you’re presenting in your eLearning, which makes it important to have a true understanding of where the gaps are within your audience. It may be that organizational leaders and managers can provide you with this information, based on what they personally see, or you may have to delve into knowledge gaps based on performance reports, or you may have to administer quizzes and questionnaires.
Getting to know your audience may require a little more time and planning on your part as you develop eLearning, but the pay-off is typically significant, because you can target your employees and create eLearning that’s going to build on their knowledge and skills, address gaps and be more effective overall.
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