Your learners are not unicorns!


There is a rather strange trend in organisations when it comes to understanding their learners; no one seems to know much about them. This leads to very general statements when having discussions about the audience such as:

"We employ people from 16 to 65, so have a very broad demographic" - Hmmm, yes very broad indeed.


"They are very time poor and have a lot on." - I would be worried if your staff weren't busy.

and very often "Our staff are not very computer savvy." - What does that even mean these days?

It’s almost like the learners at these organisations are mythical creatures, and there are only theories and myths about what motivates them, what they do, who they are and where they come from. For some organisations, their learners are unicorns.

This is rather strange as unlike unicorns, learners are real! You can see them, you touch them (not inappropriately though, we have a course for that) and you can ask them questions!

So, when is the last time you asked your learners what they think about eLearning? What they want to learn and how comfortable they are with computers to get an accurate picture of who your audience is?

  • What do they think of eLearning?
  • Why do they think that way?
  • Do they feel they have control of their learning?
  • What learning to they do themselves outside of work? How to video’s, TED, Lynda
  • Does eLearning get followed up by managers or L&D?
  • When would they prefer to complete learning? Home/Work?
  • What sort of training do they want? Role specific? Training outside of their role? Process? Soft skill?

Understanding what drives our audience will help create eLearning solutions, and wider L&D solutions for that matter, that are relevant and aligned to their needs. Learner engagement is the biggest factor to the success of an eLearning solution, but the focus of delivering this engagement should be making the learner understand why they want to complete a particular piece of training.

No one goes to work thinking "Gee, I hope I don’t learn anything new today...", but at the same time they won’t learn something that isn’t relevant to them. Learners need to understand how learning something will benefit them, how they will be able to apply the new knowledge and how it will contribute to them being better at their job.

If you want to create effective eLearning solutions, don’t treat your learners like unicorns. Invest the effort to understanding your learners, as this will help guide creating training that they will be motivated to complete.

To help you get started, we've put together a resource to containing some suggested question you should ask your audience. You can download it by clicking here.

If you would like to know more about how to create eLearning that is tailored to your learners needs, contact me at