Know Your Audience

Recently I was asked to complete a brief instructional assignment before proceeding to the next phase of consideration for a project. I was given the assignment and asked if I had questions. My first question was, “Who is the audience for this assignment?”

Knowledge about the audience– average age, occupation, average education, technology skill level, interests, and so on– inform the design and development of instructional materials, from the development of learning objectives; the creation of assessment items; and the development of content.

Knowledge about the audience should be used to develop instructional materials that promote motivation by being relevant, meaningful to the intended audience. Information about the audience will also assist with the development of instructional materials at the appropriate level of skill and language.

For more on audience analysis see Dick and Clark’s (2008) text The Systematic Design of Instruction.

For more on motivation in learning see Keller’s (1987) article the Development and Use of the ARCS Model of Instructional Design


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