The best learning designers always take the needs of their audience into consideration. However, most organizations have multiple audiences to make content for. In this article we tackle a common L&D dilemma: how best to meet the diverse needs of a large audience. The solution—serving multiple tailored versions of your eLearning courses.
One of the major challenges of eLearning design is having to write for very large audiences, who vary a great deal, while still creating content that is compelling and appropriate for every member of the learner group.
Serving this content is a two-part process. The first is to understand how learners vary and to create content accordingly, and the second is to try to find ways of routing your audience based on that understanding.
Let’s look at both of these steps in turn.
Learn about design challenges from an eLearning designer perspective.eLearning during a pandemic: Real L&D stories from a lead learning designer
Step 1) Mapping learner groups in your organization
As a first step, it’s critical to understand the different learner groups in your organization. Learners may vary in one or more of the following ways:
Language and location
Learner groups can consist of thousands of people across several continents. Generally, the bigger the organization, the larger and more diverse the learner group. The audience for an eLearning course written for a global bank could include English speakers in the US and UK, Mandarin speakers in China, and French and Spanish speakers across Europe and the Americas. In addition to differences in languages across these locations, cultural norms and guidelines are also likely to vary a great deal.
Seniority and expertise
Learning often needs to be created for multiple levels within an organization—from new starters in entry-level positions, to top-level executives. Expertise can also differ widely, and this won’t necessarily correspond to levels of seniority or experience. For example, in learning focused on new technology topics, new starters can have greater understanding and confidence than those at the top, who may have been in the organization for decades.
Device type and connectivity
Learners may be accessing the course content on a standard desktop computer in their workplace, or they may be accessing it on a smartphone or tablet during their commute. They might be sipping on a hot beverage in a coffee shop with high-bandwidth wifi, or out in the field with limited connectivity.
Discover how your authoring tool can support your global learning content efforts in:5 essential authoring tool features for efficient global eLearning projects
Step 2) Delivering carefully tailored content to your audiences
So once you’ve identified the variations in your learner group and created content appropriate to them, how can you make sure learners receive personalized eLearning journeys that account for these variations? Display conditions are a great way to create learning that caters to different audiences, and should be included in your eLearning authoring tool.
Here’s what they look like in Gomo:
Gomo offers a whole series of display conditions. They allow you to filter content based on:
Role, level, or language
In conjunction with a role filter at the beginning of the course, you can decide which content to display to which learners. You may, for instance, choose to use different imagery or video content based on the learner’s location, or different text or audio content depending on their role and level of seniority. These differences, and others, are accessible via the ‘User’ variable and ‘Active language’ display condition.
Beginning an eLearning course with a diagnostic assessment allows you to test each learner’s current level of understanding. Filtering content based on the results of this assessment is a very good way of differentiating the content based on level of expertise. This has the additional benefit of saving lots of time, since employees who need the eLearning less, spend less time completing it. These differentiations are accessible via the Asset correctness and Topic score display conditions.
Desktop, tablet, or smartphone
Although Gomo adapts responsively depending on what kind of device the learner is using, sometimes you may want or need to present questions and interactions in an entirely different way for different devices. Large images featuring drop-down text menus might work well on desktops and tablets, for instance, but will lose too much detail to be viable on many smartphones. In these situations, you can choose which content to display on which device using the ‘Device type’ display condition.
Control how your content is viewed and consumed. Check out—Using creative interactions to build engaging courses, part 2: locking menus and dynamic branching