Using Personas in Learner Experience Design

Jess Knott UX Methods

Marketing firms, software developers, and website designers have to understand their audience well enough to develop products and services that will be successful, useful, and usable. To achieve these goals, they frequently use personas, defined by usability.gov as “a written representation of your website’s intended users.”

A course is similar, but perhaps more complex. To be successful educators, each individual instructor or instructional design team must create a learner experience that complements the course content, rather than introducing roadblocks to its delivery. We must understand what students need in order to be successful, realizing that the stakes are high when it comes to education. Personas can help create a shared understanding among team members, and can provide a foundation upon which teaching and learning strategies can be developed.

The following template and example provide a means for you to begin creating your own personas for use in your instruction or instructional design work. Developed based on the information provided at Usability.gov, they are intended to serve as a helpful basis for getting started. We recommend you consider developing 3-5 personas for use in your course development, but realize that different situations may call for more or fewer.

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