Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked to create a single course for a large group of learners with different needs and varying levels of prior knowledge?

It’s a request that comes up a lot. And I can see why! Making one catch-all course seems easier than making multiple versions for different audiences. And it might actuallybeeasier, but will it be as effective? Probably not.

I’d like to walk you through why it’s worth taking the time to tailor content to specific audiences and how to go about doing that.

Why Creating a One-Size-Fits-All Course Is Usually a Mistake

你有没有买过声称一刀切? 更准确的描述应该是均码适合任何人,我说得对吗?电子学习课程也是如此。如果你试图创造一个适合每个人需要的课程,很可能它最终不会完美地满足任何人的需求。而且,当你给学习者提供与他们无关的内容时,他们很可能会忽视这一点,从而导致保留率降低、辍学率升高或分数降低。

Tailoring the course to specific audiences, on the other hand, gives learners exactly what they need—no more, no less—and makes the information you’re sharing feel more relevant. That means learners are more likely to deeply engage with the content, retain the key messages, and ultimately meet the objectives of your course.

How to Tailor Content to Different Audiences

Now that we’re all on the same page about the importance of tailoring your course to your specific audience, you might be wondering how to go about doing that. Basically, you’ll need to adapt the content included, the way you present that content, and the wording or framing of your message. Let’s have a closer look at how to do each of those things.

决定要覆盖的内容

决定哪些内容在每个版本的封面your course, you’ll need to think about your audience, their prior knowledge, the reason you’re creating the course, and their needs. If you’re not already doing an audience analysis as part of your course creation process, check out this article to learn how:How to Do an E-Learning Audience Analysis.

To illustrate what this looks like, I designed two courses on the same topic for different audiences. Let’s start by looking at the target audiences for both courses:

Target Audience

没有食物过敏的人

刚被诊断出对食物过敏的人

先验知识

Little to none

Little to none

培训目标

(创建课程的原因)

提高对食物过敏的严重性的认识,教育人们如何识别和应对反应

Help people who’ve been newly diagnosed with food allergies get up to speed on the basics quickly

学习ing Objectives(what the learner needs to be able to do after taking the course)

能够:

  • 解释食物过敏和不耐受之间的区别
  • list the top nine foods responsible for most allergic reactions
  • recognize and respond to allergic reactions
  • 同情那些对食物过敏的人
  • 实施一些小的改变来支持对食物过敏的人

能够:

  • 解释为什么严肃对待食物过敏很重要
  • identify whether your allergen is on the top nine list
  • recognize and respond to allergic reactions
  • 实施预防过敏反应的策略
  • locate trusted resources with additional information

Notice that even though both target groups have the same level of prior knowledge, their needs are different, which is why one course won’t do the trick.

To make sure the needs of each target group are met, I needed to think about what content to include in each course. Here’s what I decided:

Target Audience

没有食物过敏的人

刚被诊断出对食物过敏的人

课程内容

  • 食物过敏的定义
  • 九大食物过敏原
  • How to recognize a reaction
  • 如何应对反应(概述)
  • 对过敏的生活一瞥,以鼓励同情心
  • Ideas for ways to support people with food allergies
  • 一些关键资源的链接
  • 食物过敏的定义
  • 九大食物过敏原
  • How to recognize a reaction
  • How to respond to a reaction (step by step)
  • Details about how to manage food allergies in everyday life
  • 教育朋友和家人的小贴士
  • 许多有用资源的链接

You’ll notice that the first three bullet points are the same. In this case, that’s not surprising, given that both of my target audiences have little to no prior knowledge, so they both need to get up to speed on the basics. However, starting from bullet point number four, you’ll notice that things start to diverge, which makes sense given that each group has very different needs.

Decide How to Present Your Content

在呈现的内容有重叠的情况下,重要的是要考虑以相同的方式向所有受众呈现内容是否有意义。

参加我的食物过敏课程。尽管两位观众都需要知道在过敏反应的情况下该怎么做,但新诊断出过敏的人更可能在现实生活中不得不遵循这些步骤。

For that reason, I decided to present them in slightly different ways for each audience. For people without food allergies, I used an accordion block with bullet points to outline each step. And for people who’ve been newly diagnosed, I used a process block to add more emphasis to the importance of these steps and, hopefully, to increase learner retention. Here’s what that looks like:

Target Audience

没有食物过敏的人

刚被诊断出对食物过敏的人

Responding to a Reaction Lesson

一种手风琴方块,每个步骤都有要点

A process block with a photo and text for each step

View interactive version

View interactive version

Do you see how much changing the way you present content can impact the learning experience?

Reframe Your Message

好的教学设计师知道,仅仅向学习者展示他们需要的内容是不够的;你还需要解释为什么?they need it, so they’re motivated to engage and explore. That means you also need to reframe your message so it’s relevant and relatable.

But what does that entail, exactly? Basically, it means rewording your text so that it speaks to your learners. To do that, you’ll need to put yourself in your learners’ shoes and ask yourself questions like:

  • 他们为什么要在意?
  • How will they use this information in their daily work/life?

然后,让这些问题的答案来指导你的写作。让我们回到我的两个过敏症课程,看看课程描述,来说明这个重新构建是什么样子的。

If I had been creating a single course for both audiences, I would’ve had to stick to a generic course description that simply states what the course will cover. But because I decided to create a separate course for each audience, I was able to write an introduction that truly speaks to each group of learners, (hopefully!) increasing their motivation to take the course. Have a look at both versions below:

Target Audience

没有食物过敏的人

刚被诊断出对食物过敏的人

课程Description

食物是我们日常生活的重要组成部分。通常,吃不仅仅是为了滋养我们的身体,而是为了花时间和我们爱的人在一起。想想看:你最后一次和家人或朋友聚在一起而不吃东西是什么时候?

For people with food allergies, eating can be stressful. And for good reason! You’d probably be stressed too if your life was potentially at risk whenever you put anything in your mouth.

修完这门课,你就能。

If you or someone you love has just been diagnosed with a food allergy, you might be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. What does this mean? How will it impact your day-to-day life? We’ll take a look at all this and more in this helpful course.

修完这门课,你就能。

Do you see how changing up the wording on the course description really changes how you feel going into the course? If you open up both courses and compare the first few lessons side by side, you’ll see a bunch of other examples of this kind of reframing:

Target Audience

没有食物过敏的人

刚被诊断出对食物过敏的人

课程

View interactive version

View interactive version

如果您正在努力改写内容以更好地满足目标受众的需求,请参阅本文:Empathy: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and How to Build It.

底线

如果你想让你的课程产生影响,迎合你的目标受众是很重要的。如果这些受众包括有着广泛需求的人,那么你最好为每个受众量身定制单独的课程。毕竟,如果内容不能传达给你的学习者,或者不能帮助他们保留满足课程目标所需的关键信息,那么花时间和精力构建课程又有什么意义呢?

More Resources

寻找更实用的教学设计技巧?不要错过这些有用的文章:

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