Experts agree that a learner analysis should be the first step of any educational endeavor as it helps align the elements of education to the individual needs, and in this chapter, we’ll go in-depth into what learner analyses are, the tell-tale signs of needing one, and how to carry them out effectively.
A learner analysis collects key data about what a person knows or doesn’t know, what their strengths are, and what their weaknesses are in order to determine how best to educate them. It helps teachers, both traditional and online, align the elements of education – such as curriculum, learning methodologies, and learning environment – to a learner’s individual strengths and needs. It is ultimately a valuable tool for teachers to use in the online classroom setting as it provides a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of learners, as well as their most favorable learning methods.
Additionally, companies also struggle with receiving feedback from learners on course completeness and quality, and this leads to poorer outcomes for both teachers and learners alike. The good news, however, is that there are a number of ways to streamline and automate the process of feedback, and these steps improve your ROI while increasing learner engagement.
One example of where this data is immensely valuable is when dealing with gifted learners who may work at a pace that is different from other children in their grade or via eLearning. The data collected from a learner analysis will allow educators to provide appropriate instruction at an optimal pace for each individual’s needs. This helps make sure that no gifted learners are slowed down by colleagues who might be lagging behind, and it ensures that cognitively advanced learners do not fall victim to boredom as they move through the curriculum.
Learner Analysis Benefits
An Example Learner Analysis
Usually, a learner analysis will include some form of general intelligence test. This will be used to assess a learner’s natural aptitude for academic subjects such as math, science, and language arts.
Another common test involves determining how learners process information. This will help the trainer understand how they best learn by recognizing their preferred learning style (e.g., kinesthetic learner or visual learner).
A third component might be a reading comprehension assessment. This will reflect how effectively learners read materials and comprehend them on various levels (e.g., literal vs. inferential comprehension). The final assessment might be personality or interest assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or Strong Interest Inventory (SII). These assessments help identify strengths and weaknesses so that a learner’s natural inclinations can better be leveraged in the eLearning classroom environment. For instance, if someone scores highly on a reading comprehension test but scores poorly on the other assessments, this might mean that they are motivated by visual rather than textual stimuli. One person who is a strong reader may not necessarily have strong numeracy skills when tested with one particular type of cognitive assessment tool. To provide clarity, it’s therefore important to provide information about what each test measures and what each evaluation shows in terms of learners’ strengths and weaknesses.
3 Signs You May Need a Learner Analysis
1. Consistent, Long-Term Poor Performance
2. Novel Cultural or Societal Changes
3. New Education Program Rollouts
For an educator to properly administer and analyze learner analysis data effectively, there are certain things that should be kept in mind about what this process entails so it can be done properly, without any bias towards certain types of learners or any potential pitfalls that could arise from its implementation.
A learner analysis often serves as a formal investigation meant to understand the pros and cons of a learner’s or a company’s current state. And it can be performed on just about anybody. The analysis looks at things like the learner’s strengths, their desires, their interests, and their goals. The idea is that you want to get a sense of what the learner wants to do, how they are best suited to learn, and how they can be best supported in achieving their goals.
With respect to how the process plays out, it begins with identifying what skills a learner is working on, followed by determining which skills are a strength and which could use some improvement. This should be done on an individual basis as well as for the whole school. If there are significant gaps in performance, then the entire company can implement interventions to help the learner reach their full potential.
There are many benefits associated with using learner analysis, but there are also some potential pitfalls depending on how it is administered and analyzed by educators. For example, learners may feel pressured if their performance is constantly being assessed or analyzed during courses or assessments as opposed to just receiving overall results based on course completion. In addition, there can be some practical problems like lack of materials, technology access, or accommodations for learners with disabilities – all things that would complicate the process of analyzing each individual learner’s performance based on subject matter progressions individually rather than just relying on default standardizations like course results alone.
Regardless, learner analyses are powerful tools to improve the quality of both eLearning and traditional training. It can help you identify a learner’s passions, what motivates them, and their preferred learning styles. And, perhaps most importantly, it can give you a sense for where they might succeed professionally or academically in the long-term, even if current testing metrics don’t necessarily reflect those outcomes.
Start with an overview of your organization’s current training approach.
In some cases, poor learner performance may also be a result of misguided training practices within the company. Consider undertaking a full needs analysis to confirm this.
Our guide will show you the basics on how to do this here.
This is the seventh of 8 articles from the eBook eLearning 101 - How To Create The Perfect Curriculum For Your Company.
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