An important part of good course design is ensuring that your learners can see themselves reflected in the course materials and all of the visual assets used in its development. In particular, character development is an integral component of course design.
Who is the Learner?
Every time we develop a course for a client, we start by defining who their learner is. What do they read? Are they married? Do they have children? What kind of car do they drive? All of these detailed aspects of who their typical learner is helps us to create a persona.
With one of our clients, that persona happened to be named Mike. And recently, when we were developing courses for Mike and his peers, we created animated videos. In these videos, as the story progressed, we met Mike’s wife, children, and dog. Prior to creating these animated videos, we indeed had to ask ourselves additional, very specific questions about the learner and his story. Does he have a big dog? A German Shepherd? Or a poodle? What is his wife’s name? How many children does he have? Is his family of mixed race?
Learners Need to See Themselves in the Characters
In this case, it was a financial management course. When Mike took money out of his retirement savings plan, we wanted to cite reasons that would be realistic ones for doing so. We had determined that Mike liked fishing, hunting, camping, and hockey. So it made sense to create a story around him making a withdrawal so he could purchase a new boat. And naturally, within the course, we go on to find out the real cost of that boat when the missed compounding interest is factored in. We could have used many different examples to underscore this learning point, but using one that resonates with the target audience makes all the difference.
When learners can see themselves in the persona, stories, and scenarios, then the course makes sense to them. It resonates with them.
Need help with creating courses and characters that your learners can identify with? Let’s connect.
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