Every company wants to have an ethical culture. After all, there is huge commercial advantage in having a workforce that thinks and behaves in an ethical way. But, while having an ethical culture is a competitive advantage, getting there – and staying there – can be challenging.
With learning teams having such a big influence on how a company culture operates, it puts a lot of pressure on these teams to deliver ethics and compliance training programs that shift company cultures in the right direction. For organizations on the lookout for ways to instill the knowledge and skills that create this type of culture, learner-centered training is the most likely solution. And it all starts with the learner persona.
What is a Learner Persona and Why is it Important?
A learner persona is a fictional profile created for targeting a specific user or group in a training program. Designed to provide deep insight into a target learner’s demographics, job responsibilities, skill level, training goals, and more, a learner persona paints a clear picture of a training program’s ideal user or audience.
The purpose of a learner persona is to help learning and development teams create and finetune a training program strategy in order to meet learner needs and program objectives. More than that, however, learner personas help enhance training programs by pointing learning teams to the tools, knowledge, and day-to-day scenarios that are the most engaging and effective for the learner and the organization.
In an article from our VP of Client Success, Gabriel Szaszko, he explains why Interactive Services uses personas to create our custom training programs, “Learner personas help clarify who we are telling our stories to, and remind us why that audience needs to listen to the stories we are telling. Carefully outlining who you’re reaching with your training, what their emotional “hooks” will be, and what will be meaningful to them allows you to frame the story you want to tell in an eloquent way.”
How to Create a Learner Persona
Developing a learner persona requires a lot of research and analysis. However, once a learner persona is created, it can guide learning teams to the right pathways for instilling the knowledge and skills that help create an ethical company culture.
With this in mind, here are some steps you can take to create learner personas at your organization.
Explore Your Audience
The first step in creating a learner persona is gathering all the information you can about your targeted audience. A few examples of the information you might need to develop a learner persona include:
- Basic demographics, such as age and gender
- Education and skill levels
- Specific roles or departments
- Preferred devices or platforms
- Psychometric information, such as needs, motivations, frustrations, and attitude toward learning
Information used to create a learner persona can be gathered in several ways, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, and through human resources. What’s important is to get as much information as you can to create a comprehensive view of learners to deliver training more effectively.
Analyze and Leverage Insights
After gathering information on your learner audience, analyze it for trends or unique characteristics. For example, you may have a group of learners that prefer using a mobile device and working through real-life ethics scenarios to develop their skillset. Using this information, your team can develop a training program that offers mobile capabilities and engages learners through interactive storytelling.
The more you dig into what learners need and what motivates them to make good decisions, the better off your training program will be. Ultimately, it’s about creating an ethics and compliance training program that is fun, impactful, and helps employees gain valuable knowledge and skills efficiently.
The Advantages of Learner-Centered Training
Here’s how your organization can benefit from leveraging personas to create a learner-centered training program.
Learner-Centered Training Fuels Participation
One of the key goals of learning teams is to help employees feel motivated instead of required to complete training courses. With a learner-centered approach supported by strong personas, learning teams can create personalized content that speaks to learners’ needs and delivers it in a way that makes it convenient for learners to participate.
By paying attention to what employees want from their training program, your training program will be engaging and meaningful to learners, and learning teams will have better opportunities to inspire staff to make more ethical decisions, laying the foundation for greater participation and a more ethical workplace.
Learner-Centered Training Improves Knowledge Retention
Instead of a “one size fits all” approach to training, a learner-centered training program often uses microlearning to bring forward two important aspects of building knowledge retention: relevance and engagement. Derived from cognitive science, microlearning has been proven by researchers to enhance skill acquisition and development.
As training strategies go, microlearning is one of the best ways to boost knowledge retention and engagement. In this type of learner-centered approach, employees access small, interactive pieces of content derived from scenarios they might confront during an average day, making courses more flexible, stimulating, and impactful for learners.
Learner-Centered Training Empowers Performance
Adapting your training program to become learner-centered involves providing a well-rounded approach to course content. Instead of offering one or two training options, a learner-centered program may include a full range of delivery methods. For example, a strong learner-centered program might consist of interactive scenarios, case studies, videos, role plays, and other training methods that not only engage and educate employees, but also help to reinforce learning weeks or months after formal training is completed.
As our Director of Sales, Neil Cullen, points out on our blog, “Through making [training] fun, your staff enjoys being at work and will get more work done. That means more productivity, more profit, and more progress.”
Interactive Services is a leader in helping organizations create and strengthen ethical cultures through our award-winning ethics and compliance training solutions. Discover how we can help your business by signing up for our free 7-day trial!