Instructional design/Learner analysis/what when why/demographics

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DEMOGRAPHICS[edit]

Starting out by learning general demographic information about your learners can shape your design strategy rather quickly. Knowing if you are designing a course for 40 students or 400, the geographic locations of the students, cultural characteristics and their socioeconomic status will drive what learning technologies you can implement, resources you provide, pedagogical choices and methods of delivery and communication. The chart below provides demographic considerations that instructional designers should seek to locate in the learning analysis process.


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An important part of learner analysis is knowing where to find the information you hope to gain about learners. IDs who are also teaching have direct access to students, which opens up additional sources above what might be available to someone who is designing instruction with the help of a subject matter expert. If your subject matter expert is the teacher, or you have direct access to the students' current or past teachers, this additional information may be requested from them.

POSSIBLE DATA SOURCES[edit]

Below are possible sources for the collection of demographic information about students:

IDs only -[edit]

  • Surveys
  • Enrollment documents
  • Transcripts
  • Previous instructors
  • Resume or CV
  • Employment records
  • Student records
  • Census data, if available
  • Disclosure documents

IDs who are also teaching -[edit]

  • Personal interactions with students
  • Observations
  • Surveys
  • Enrollment documents
  • Transcripts
  • Previous instructors
  • Resume or CV
  • Employment records
  • Student records
  • Census data, if available
  • Disclosure documents

POSSIBLE DESIGN IMPLICATIONS[edit]

Category Design Implications
Size & Nature Course activities (discussion boards, group work etc.) are structured to accommodate the size of the class. Communication structure allows for adequate feedback and student support.
Age & Gender Language and examples/scenarios should be relevant to age groups.

Instructional objectives and tasks should be age appropriate.

Cultural Content should be presented in a manner that provides non-native speakers tools for viewing (recorded lectures that can be stopped, watched and re-watched).

Cultural views on student/student and student/teachers roles can impact interactions and communication.

Occupational & Socioeconomic Consider alternatives to costly textbooks (e-texts), technology (free campus/online tools).

Provide resources for equipment checkout and labs. Provide support mechanisms to address financial and personal hardships, career/job opportunities.

Geographic Location of students can impact connectivity, access to campus resources, ability to participate in online course meeting (time zone issues) and group work.


TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE![edit]

(select all that apply)

Which of the following demographic information could be valuable in a learner analysis?

Learners native language
What time zone they live in
Prior knowledge on subject
Socioeconomic status


RESOURCES[edit]

Eastham, N. (2011). Instructional Design Course: Learner analysis (Web resource). University of Northern California. Retrieved from http://www.unco.edu/cetl/sir/sizing_up/learner_analysis.html (Links to an external site.)

Justice, L. K. (2003). Learner/Context Analysis (Web resource). Retrieved from http://www.personal.kent.edu/~lkjusti1/objectivelyspeaking/learner_context_analysis.htm (Links to an external site.)

Move to Page 4: Intro to Learner Analysis Worksheet: Cognitive and Prior Knowledge
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