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Mastering the Instructional Design Process by Stephen B. King, Marsha King, Bud Benscoter, William J. Rothwell

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Chapter FourIdentifying the Target Population and Environmental Characteristics

Learners are not all alike. Members of different occupations and individuals differ in the ways they learn best. As instruction is prepared, these differences must be considered. To do that successfully, instructional designers should know the characteristics of the targeted learners. Identifying these characteristics is called assessing relevant characteristics of learners, although we will call it learner assessment.

As we've noted earlier, the role of an instructional designer today has expanded to include a broader consideration of performance; that is, not only instructional solutions but a myriad number of performance improvement solutions that have little to do with skill or knowledge deficiencies. With this as the case, learner characteristics must also consider the work environment and the culture in which the performer operates. Other modern-day considerations include a much more diverse workforce than in the past, reflected by a multicultural and cross-generational workforce. These issues will be addressed in this chapter.

According to The Standards, the performance standards related to identifying and describing the target population and environmental characteristics include: “(a) determine the characteristics of the target population that may impact the design and delivery of instruction (essential); (b) determine characteristics of the physical, social, political, and cultural environment ...

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