20 Questions To Conduct an Audience Analysis

An audience analysis is a task that instructional designers and training developers perform in the initial phases of planning a training project. Completing an audience analysis is critical because in order to communicate information effectively, you need to understand who your learners are. Depending on the project, you might have more than once audience.

To complete your audience analysis, you will need to interview and observe the employees and management to gather information about your learners. Once you have identified your specific audiences, you can tailor your courses so they are pertinent to the different background, education levels, etc.

Here’s an example of how audiences can vary widely, even within one organization: you are developing software training for a large organization with a manufacturing facility. Some of your learners are engineers who work in software development. They are technically savvy, work at a computer all day and are already familiar with the software you are training them on. Meanwhile, your second audience is the workers from manufacturing facility. They work with machinery all day and barely use the computer. This will be their first time ever seeing this software. You can already see that, even though these two audiences may need to be trained on the same software, very different approaches will be required for different audiences.

Here’s a list of 20 audience analysis questions to get you started.

General

  • Who is your primary audience?
  • Are there potential secondary audiences?

Demographics

  • What is the average age of the learner?
  • Are the learners mostly men, women or an equal mix?
  • What is the educational background (high school diploma, PhD)?
  • What is their cultural background, race, ethnicity?

Knowledge & Experience

  • What is their level of work experience?
  • What is the reading level of the audience?
  • How much do they already know about the subject at hand?
  • What tone or attitude is appropriate for your audience?
  • Are the learners highly motivated?

 Technical

  • What hardware and software will the learners have?
  • How technically savvy are the learners?
  • What resources do the learners have at their disposal?

Expectations

  • What level of participation can you expect?
  • What kind of syntax or writing style are your learners comfortable with?
  • Why are the learners taking the training?
  • What will the audience expect to learn?
  • What amount of time do learners have available to devote to training?
  • Do any of the learners have special needs? (visual or audio impairment)

If you know of any other audience analysis questions that I’ve missed, please leave a comment!

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6 Comments on “20 Questions To Conduct an Audience Analysis”

  1. [...] program that tailored toward the audience and the learning goal. The following two websites 20 Questions To Conduct an Audience Analysis by Nicole Legault and Audience Analysis by Instructional Design Expert offered some useful [...]

  2. Victoria says:

    Nicole,
    I just read another article that touts the power of focus groups as a vital part of the needs analysis process. It is an older article, but I think it is interesting how the questions you mentioned above are not included. They jump right to the focus group. I would think that might get expensive. Useful, but expensive. So if you have the budget for it, I would take a blended approach.

  3. Victoria says:

    One more comment. What about learning style?. . . Cheers!

  4. About the learning style, it should depends on who are your learners or students are. Kids are different from the teenagers and also different from the professionals. So, your style of teaching or presenting the topic should be base on who are your students.

  5. Christine Wynne says:

    Where audience is located- are they dispersed in many locations or all located in one location can affect whether you offer distance learning or classroom based learning. Size of audience can also affect instructional design- whether eLearning or classroom or synchronous distance learning. Time available for training also can impact instructional design. Can learner attend a three day class or only be away 4 hours at a time? Do they have access to a computer lab or software training environment in their workplace (if delivering eLearning or software training.)


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