“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”

A A Milne

What is a Persona?

Personas are fictional characters (based on a real population) that represent a typical user of a website, brand, product, or service (Genesir, 2014). In short a persona is a way to humanize your data.

Creating a persona should include a written as well as a visual representation of the character. Also, it is good when naming your persona to give it a descriptive name. See examples below.

Evelyn Experienced, Maddie Millennial, and Nate Newbie

Using persona profiles as part of a student-centered design of courses can help instructional designers keep their target students in mind throughout the design process (Genesir, 2014).  If you are designing for large organizations with diverse student populations personas are invaluable.

What are the elements of a good persona?

A good persona should consider the following:

  • Job role and responsibilities
  • Biggest challenges
  • Industry
  • Preferred method of learning or obtaining information
  • Demographic
  • Personal background and interests

The persona is a fictionalized person based on data but it never hurts to speak to a few people in your target group (Baumann, 2018). Ask them some questions like “How long have you been in this industry?”, “Do you manage people; if so how many?” , “How do you prefer to read written material, on paper or electronically?”. The purpose of the persona is to build a multidimensional character so you to always remember these are humans you are designing for, not a faceless demographic.

What did I learn?

This week I learned of several resources to assist with developing personas for instructional design. Toondoo.com was not a great resource in my opinion as it relies too heavily on flash which will no longer be supported as of 2020. Bitmoji was a great, free, resource that allowed for personalization right down to the wrinkles on the character’s forehead. Powtoon.com was another fun resource which adds an element of animation to your creation. You can find my animated short here:

Created using powtoon.com

I feel the main take-away regarding the creation and use of personas is expressed in the A. A. Milne quote above, our differences make us who we are and the successful instructional designer will always take into account a learners unique qualities. A fully developed persona will lead to more effective eLearning courses because the developers know who the audience is ( Gutierrez, 2013).


Baumann, B., Watson, C., Haneberg, L., & Gates, D. (2018, March 29). User-Centered Design Through Learner Personas. Retrieved from https://trainingindustry.com/articles/content-development/user-centered-design-through-learner-personas/.

Genesir, A. (2014, October 1). Using Personas in Instructional Design. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141001143034-70357641-using-personas-in-instructional-design/?articleId=8678850913366282794.

Santaniello, N. (2019, September 19). 5 Steps To Follow When Using An Instructional Design Framework For Your Online Courses. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://elearningindustry.com/instructional-design-framework-for-your-online-courses-5-steps-follow-using.

Gutierrez, K. (2013, July 4). The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Creating Learner Personas. Retrieved from https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/302513/The-Ultimate-Cheat-Sheet-for-Creating-Learner-Personas.

One thought on “Using Persona profiles in Instructional Design

  1. Very well done Michele. I like that you embedded a video in your blog. Very well done both with the connect and in the layout design.


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