Curriculum Planning/Learner Analysis

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Looking at the Learner[edit | edit source]

Looking at the learner sub-topics.png

Learner Analysis[edit | edit source]

Good training requires comprehensive and accurate information about the target learner audience. The following topics are important factors to consider in any learner analysis. The questions are provided as guidelines for gathering relevant information. (You will probably find it useful to organize your information into a succinct “Learner Profile,” in a notebook or digital file.)

The best way to receive accurate answers to these questions is to interview learners and learner groups directly. This, however, is not always possible. Other ways to gather data include:

  • Communication with educators or other individuals who have first-hand experience with this learner audience
  • Communication with educators or other individuals who have experience with similar groups
  • Comprehensive and creative research to find the answers elsewhere (e.g. research studies, government data, internet websites).

The answers to these questions can be collated into a succinct description of the Learner Profile. Of course, if you are able to interview members of the target learner audience directly, you will undoubtedly discover variation in at least some of the answers. Your Learner Profile may describe a typical member of the target learner audience, but be sure to indicate the degree of variation within the group.

Note: In most cases, not all questions will be answered for a learner group! Aim to answer as many questions as you can.

1. Average age or age range It may be convenient to categorize the age range of the target audience according to the following:

  • Youth (15 – 25 or 30)
  • Mid-adult (30 – 55 or 60)
  • Senior (55 or 60 +)
  • Multi-generational (more than one age group)


2. Gender composition of the learner group It may be convenient to categorize the gender composition of the target audience according to the following:

  • Strictly male
  • Mostly male
  • Mixed gender group
  • Mostly female
  • Strictly female

3. Motivation and expectations for the training event

  • Why are people taking this training? Is it required (by whom?) or optional? What are the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers for participation in the training?
  • What do learners (or other stakeholders) expect to be able to know or do as a result of the training?
  • What do learners expect the training itself to be like?

4. Interests (educational and otherwise)

  • What do people like to learn about? What have they learned about on their own? What were their favourite subjects in school?
  • What are the interests and hobbies of individuals in this group? What do people read about, talk about, watch on TV? What interests appear to be shared by the community as a whole?

5. Emotional factors affecting learning

  • What have prior educational experiences been like? Was school enjoyable? Which aspects?
  • What aspects of the training are they looking forward to? What are they dreading?
  • Do other family members support this training opportunity?
  • What are individuals’ perceptions of self as a learner?
  • What factors are motivating learners to seek this training opportunity?


6. Cultural factors affecting learning

  • To what extent are learning and education valued in this culture?
  • Is education valued equally for both males and females?
  • Have there been ‘success stories’ from other members of this cultural group who have already taken this training (or similar)?
  • Do learners have access to more-educated people who can serve as mentors?
  • Do males and females learn together in the same group? Seated together or separately?
  • Are young children welcome at training events?
  • Do members of this cultural group tend to be punctual about time?


7. Prior knowledge related to the training. It may be convenient to categorize the degree of prior knowledge of the target audience according to the following:

  • Prior knowledge related to the training is outdated, inaccurate, or harmful
  • No prior knowledge
  • Awareness of the training subject
  • Some prior knowledge of the training subject, not enough to perform/work independently
  • Prior knowledge of the training subject sufficient to perform/work independently
  • Prior knowledge of the training subject sufficient (or almost) to teach others


8. Educational level attained. It may be convenient to categorize the educational attainment of the target audience according to the following:

  • No formal schooling
  • Formal schooling, insufficient to achieve basic literacy and numeracy
  • Some primary level schooling
  • Primary level schooling complete
  • Some secondary level schooling
  • Secondary level schooling complete
  • Some technical or vocational training
  • Advanced technical or vocational training
  • Some University level learning
  • Bachelor’s level learning complete
  • Advanced degree completed


9. Average literacy level or literacy range. It may be convenient to categorize the literacy level of the target audience according to the following (from the Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme – UNESCO):

  • Level 1: the individual has very poor skills and may, for example, be unable to determine the correct dose of medicine to give a child from the label on a package.
  • Level 2: respondents can only deal with simple, clearly laid-out reading tasks. At this level, people can read but test poorly. They may have developed coping skills to meet everyday literacy demands, but they find it difficult to tackle new challenges, such as certain job skills.
  • Level 3: considered a suitable minimum for coping with demands of daily life and work in a complex society. This skill level is generally required to successfully complete secondary school and enter college.
  • Level 4 and 5: respondents demonstrate a good command of higher-order information processing skills.


10. Optimum and expected size of training group/class: Based on the above information, can you recommend a minimum and maximum group size for this training?

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