Often the best learning is produced by involving the target audience in the production of a the resource.

From the initial stages of collating source material to the design, implementation and even the promotion of the eLearning resource.

In the third series of our diversity and inclusion insights piece, Maresa Malloy, Instructional Designer at Aurion Learning, explains how to create eLearning with the help of your target audience and how it results in more learner uptake and retention.

To help explore the topic further, we have used a case study of an eLearning resource we completed for the students at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) on the topic of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Step 1: Identify your target audience and invite a representative cross-section of them to all of your meetings

Make sure you invite a diverse group of people. This helps you get a range of views and opinions from your target audience, which you can apply to the various stages of the eLearning production.

For example, for the QUB equality and diversity eLearning resource, we worked collaboratively with representatives with the university and invited people from different demographics, sexual orientations, age groups and religious backgrounds. The same group of students were invited to all of the meetings for continuity.

Step 2: Identify what your target audience wants from the eLearning

At the initial meetings, identify the key things your target audience wants from the eLearning resource.

Their opinion will help you create an eLearning resource that resonates with your target audience, and which they will actually want to complete.

Here are some things QUB students told us they wanted:

  • To access learning on their mobile phones and on the go.
  • For learning to be ‘chunked’ so they could dip in and out.
  • Short eLearning resources.
  • Plenty of multimedia and interactivity.
  • To be challenged, not just told what to do.
  • A friendly and informal ‘voice’.

Step 3: Design the eLearning with your target audience

Once you’ve listened to what your target audience wants, include them in the design of the learning, including the educational approach, structure and scripting of content.

Having listened to the QUB students, we proposed a 30 minute eLearning course, chunked into bite-sized nuggets. Each nugget comprised of a challenging scenario that related to the topic of diversity and inclusion, which the learner had to progress through and solve.

To assist in the scripting of these real-world scenarios, the students (along with Subject Matter Experts from the university and our education team) identified the key challenges that students face in regard to Equality and Diversity. We then chose three key scenarios to focus on and collaborated with the students to develop these further.

These scripted scenarios formed the basis of the learning, which our eLearning design team transformed and adapted into a highly interactive and engaging eLearning course.

Step 4: Build the eLearning with your target audience

Get your target audience involved in the production of the multimedia elements of your eLearning (such as video, photos, audio and animations). This results in a highly visual eLearning resource that your target audience can relate to.

Working in collaboration with QUB teams, we got their own students involved in the production of the eLearning build by:

  • Taking photos of students enacting the scenarios.
  • Recording students’ role-playing one of the scenarios.
  • Recording a student narrate the audio for the eLearning.
  • Interviewing students on the street and captured their opinion of topical issues within Equality and Diversity.

Step 5: Promote eLearning with your target audience

Creating content has long been a key marketing activity.

Regrettably, once you’ve created your eLearning content, it’s not a case of building it and they will come. If nobody knows about your new eLearning resource how can they even consider taking it? 

You need to promote your resource and get it in front of those that it is relevant for. To give it the best chance of success, get key people from your audience on board can make your campaign go further and faster.

Your audience stakeholders will represent different areas of the organisation and could help spread your message into areas of the organisation you might struggle to reach into alone.

Find your champions. The best source of champions are people who are already interested in and enthusiastic about the topic. Encourage them to share on their own social media, and promote their participation in the resource.

To help get you started, follow these simple tips to get your eLearning communications on track:

  • Who is your audience? – List all your potential stakeholders.
  • Objectives – What do you want your audience to do?
  • Messages – Focus on what the audience needs to know from you.
  • Channels – Identify the possible channels available to you and work out which will be best for your audience and message.

Creating eLearning with your target audience results in a more relevant and engaging eLearning resource. Personalising the content with their imagery and input, and setting the learning within the real-life environment adds context which your target audience can relate to. This not only increases the chance they’ll complete the eLearning but also that they’ll learn the knowledge, skills and behaviours you want them to change.

Interested in developing eLearning content for your audience, with your audience? Or need some help and advice on getting your project off the ground? Get in touch with our team and start a conversation.

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