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  • Writer's pictureAmy Hortop

Learner Personas

Updated: May 11

This blog post is part of the coursework for EDUO 652.

Why Use a Learner Persona? 

In the context of my work of developing workforce development training for emerging clean energy technologies, a learner persona is a made-up representation of someone who would participate in our training. It can help design and implement training by seeing the training from the perspective of our learners, allowing an opportunity to tailor the educational technology and learning experiences to the specific needs, preferences, and characteristics of our target audience of adult learners for reskilling and upskilling.

         Developing a persona can help those in instructional design develop a curriculum by better understanding what motivates the learner, their previous experiences coming into the training, and their learning styles. With a persona, I can develop engaging, compelling content that resonates with them, aligning with their goals and motivations. In creating training for workforce development, having a persona makes it more likely that I’ll address specific challenges and skills gaps relevant to particular career paths and life scenarios. 


Creating a Learner Persona

        The first step in developing two personas was identifying the target population for those who might attend training as part of any reskilling or upskilling initiative within the more extensive workforce development program in emerging clean energy technologies. To start, we identified areas around the US that are in the process of building new battery manufacturing plants and anticipate a significant need to recruit and train a new workforce. Within those communities, we started to research and gather data about the target population who would attend any training under development, including demographics, potential job roles within the plants, and anticipated experience levels.  

         In the context of this example, we already know a lot about our potential target audience, what they hope to accomplish, and possible goals. We know that many of these new plants are being built in rural areas around the country, where populations are less dense, and there might need to be more people to recruit and train to fill all possible job roles. To that end, part of our target population wouldn’t be those already in the area but perhaps would consider moving from another location around the country for career advancement. Knowing more about those particular areas of the country, we were also able to generalize some potential challenges and barriers to participation in training, such as those located in a rural area or without access to higher-speed internet. 

We anticipate most of our learners will be adult learners who are reskilling or upskilling to move from internal combustion engines to clean energy technologies. An essential piece of information we needed to gather was an understanding of how these adults may best learn and their access to learning resources. For example, knowing that they might learn best from experiences relevant to their job role, hands-on training would best address this. However, understanding that they may be located far from a training facility might help us design training and experiences that could be deployed through mobile training centers. 

Once we gathered as much information and data as we could about our target population, we also gathered information about the roles we were training them for, i.e.:

  • Entry-level technicians.

  • Mid-career professionals transitioning into clean energy.

  • Managers seeking to upskill their teams.

Following the template, personas were created for two such positions. Now that these two personas have been drafted, the next step will be to continue to gather feedback from our learners once we start implementing the training to refine the personas and adjust the curriculum we are developing. 

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