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Putting Learner Personas to Work: A Case Study

By and

Tue Apr 30 2019

Putting Learner Personas to Work: A Case Study

In our previous post, we explored the idea of using learner personas. L&D practitioners need to learn how to identify key subgroups within the larger target audience then collect or create the right array of learning assets to meet the learning needs. What’s more, they must go beyond segmenting learner groups by the traditional criteria of age, experience, education, language, job role, and so forth.

Here’s a sample description of three personas used for developing manager training:

  • Chris, the new manager, is under 35 years old, loves to text and chat online, is highly motivated to be good at this new job, and likes to study at home after the kids are in bed and when employees aren’t watching. (Note: see Cho, the new manager, if training is for Asia.)

  • Elena, the experienced manager, has a cadre of peers she trusts to talk over managerial issues (social learning). She is busy managing her staff and her personal work projects. She likes to learn in the moment on new computer technologies and is interested in the big picture that will help her succeed when promoted to the next level.

  • John, the old-style manager, has succeeded at getting the job done for a decade without complaint. He’s not interested in changing. He is willing to go to classes where he can share his stories and experiences with others during group activities.

Putting Personas to Work

Here’s a case study describing what the tailored offerings may look like for Chris, Elena, and John. The company has identified an issue that they believe could be solved if managers adopted the XYZ model. L&D designs the following set of learning assets targeted at each learner persona. All managers are required to take a pre-test and a post-test within a six-month period. Corporate already has a baseline business measure and will reassess this metric in 12 months to determine if the managers have changed their performance.

Learning Asset





E-learning introduction to the model (35 minutes)

Learner takes a pre-test to assess awareness and current use of this model. The model is explained. Learners retake the test to confirm understanding.




Virtual book club for the book that describes the model. (Six weeks, 30-minute live virtual chats on Mondays)

HR facilitates the first time, and volunteers facilitate subsequent sessions. Output of discussions are one-page summaries of advice on how to apply the model at the company.


Live class. (One to one-and-a-half days)

Organizational leader facilitates. Outputs of the class include videoed role plays and one-pagers describing how to apply the model for various scenarios.


Website for model linked to self-learning resources and just-in-time reminders.

Can be found on the LMS and searched via corporate website. Curated with the best of the assets created by learners in the book club and live classes. Includes a downloadable e-book and recent public articles.




Self-study outline with tests for each major aspect of the model. (Estimated six hours)

Outline is hyperlinked to a selection of resources for each topic, including the crowd-sourced materials from the live class and book club that are on the website.


Want to learn more about how to use learner personas for developing effective learning assets? Join us at our

LearnNow: Designing for the Modern Learner


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