Designing Online Courses for Different Learning Preferences

When you’re planning your next online course, you may envision all the students in that course as being similar due to their shared progress within a curriculum. But no two students within a cohort will have the exact same learning preferences. Your challenge is in trying to figure out what your audience needs before they ever press a button.

For example, Millennials (born between 1996 and later) often prefer to consume content that’s summarized, succinct, and heavily supported by videos and graphics (think VOX), whereas Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) usually prefer lots of text-based information, with extensive case studies and examples (think Harvard Business Review).

As instructional designers, you have an interesting conundrum: how do you balance these differing learning preferences with the need to create standardized courses that will work for multiple audiences?

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