Understanding your Audience for Custom Online Training


Who are these people? It’s always a question when you’re creating an eLearning project. Knowing the audience and designing to their needs and setting is key to creating an effective design.

Are they driving forklifts? Tethered to a desk in LA? Are they counter workers at a dry cleaning shop? New moms in a women’s hospital?

Here are some key questions to ask with regard to audience and their situation when you are creating your custom online training program.

Skills and habits

Are they new to the job or role or do they need an orientation? Do they know what is expected? Are they able to read and understand the language of the materials? Are they familiar with the vocabulary and jargon? Are they motivated or not?

Comfort with technology

Have they relied on computers or mobile devices for support in the past? Can they use a mouse, a keyboard, an ipad, a smartphone? Are they familiar with basic social media tools, search functions, player controls and the like? Do they search for answers to questions or are they better at reacting to material presented.


Where will the custom elearning be used? When it’s needed, will they be able to seek support? Is there a way to blend your training into the workflow. If the person has their hands full, will it work? Are there competing tasks? Are they working with customers? What access to technology will they naturally have? Is wireless or cell service available?

Where it Lives

Will your online training be “one” with the work or can it reside nearby? Should it be integrated into the skill or task? Is it hidden until called upon?


Perhaps most important is whether your custom online training will be resisted by the audience. Do they have doubts about the effort? Why? If you cannot overcome this resistance, then the audience will carry on as they normally do, perhaps paying lip service to the training. But they won’t become interested just because the training has appeared. Figure out the motivation and you’re project will be successful. Positive motivation and engagement is typically superior to negative reinforcements like compliance requirements.


If you're interested, check out ExpandShare's eLearning Services to see how your program can be an epic success.


Will Holland