Jacket. Check. Lunch bag. Check. Snack. Check. It's time that the content you've been lovingly caring for and protecting for so long goes out and faces the world. But what if nobody likes it? What if it gets called names like boring, irrelevant, or even behind the times?
It might be time to take another look at that content from the perspective of your whole audience, using guidance from seven different learner types. You've probably seen variations of the learner types in your travels. The specifics in each type aren't as important as taking a step back and thinking about the general approach these users like to take when dealing with content. We all tend to relate to multiple types, so you won't need to change your content for each individual type to reach a majority of users.
Who are they: It's not about description, it's about concept. Visual learners don't write notes, they draw them, then visualize them later.
How to reach them: These learners are usually covered fairly well by progressive digital training. It's the reason we have infographics shooting around the world via X (Twitter) accounts. Use illustrated examples whenever possible.
Who are they: They learn by doing; they enjoy physical movement, role playing, and group activities where they can interact.
How to reach them: In general, body learners don't like sitting in front of your website for long stretches. Your content should include lots of variation, combining text, video and games that give users a chance to jump around the page. Integrate 'Try it Now' opportunities so these learners can apply what they learn immediately.
Who are they: They study with the music blaring in the background. But it's not just music, it's rhythm; they like techniques that associate concepts with rhymes (just like we all used the rhythmic learning style to learn the alphabet).
How to reach them: Include music in your videos and animations. Pay attention to the tone of any narration - a good narrator speaks in a rhythmic tone, not monotone. Associate content with rhymes if you can.
Who are they: They learn best by observing or interacting with other learners. They jump into group activities and relish good classroom discussions.
How to reach them: Use these learners to spark social media conversations both amongst other learners and with the world at large. Use case studies that personalize the subject through a combination of video, animation and text. A mascot or narrator can serve as a virtual classroom friend.
Who are they: These learners just want to be left to their own devices. They are highly motivated and have a good understanding of how what they learn can be applied to their own circumstances.
How to reach them: Use a variety of case studies, or portals, that they can relate to. No need to come up with all new content, just the same content applied to different situations. Choose-your-own adventure type games allow users to learn the way they want to. Allow them to jump between sections, if possible, instead of forcing them into a specific sequence.
Who are they: They write everything down. Some will reference those notes often, for others just the exercise of writing something down will do the trick. They always finished the required reading before classes even began.
How to reach them: They enjoy well written content, and especially interesting case studies. Turn your animations into stories, and you'll reach both your visual and language learners. Be careful of typos: they're like potholes in the passing lane for language learners.
Who are they: Everything needs to be systematic, and if it isn't, logic learners will categorize it in their heads anyway. They like to file content and techniques away for later use. They'll recognize patterns very quickly and see how varied pieces of information will relate to one another.
How to reach them: If you're allowing self-directed navigation for your independent learners, you'll also want to include a sequential ‘Next’ and ‘Back’ navigation for your logic learners. They'll see the benefit of progress meters and aren't afraid of a little quiz here and there. If there's an opportunity to print out a summary of the content and their own notes, it will appear on their bulletin board the next day.