Looking for Audience Analysis Models

Subject: Looking for Audience Analysis Models
From: "Branham, Craig" <cbranham -at- rational -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 10:53:10 -0800

Hello, nice to be back on TECHWR-L. I work as a course developer with
Rational Software's training division, where we develop stand-up courses to
support our visual modeling products (Rose and Rose RealTime) and to teach
object oriented analysis and design methodology.

I'm currently trying to investigate methods of audience analysis in
instructional design and I was wondering if anyone could lend me a hand.
Specifically, I'm looking for heuristics that could help us assess student
knowledge, attitudes, and skill levels in the domains in which we work. But
I want to avoid at all costs having the activity turn into a mad grasp for
demographic info ("the average student is 36 years old, eats Wheaties for
breakfast. . ." etc.), which can become very counter-productive.

I realize that audience analysis is often a highly intuitive and informal
process, but I work in a team situation, so we need to be able to capture
audience profiles in writing as a way to make sure we all share an
understanding of student needs and preconceptions about the topics we have
to teach.

To make matters more interesting, our course development teams are composed
partially of people with software engineering backgrounds (who act as both
course architects and SMEs), and partially of tech comm and ID types (who
structure and create the instruction down at the module level). Most of the
software engineering contingent do not understand the rhetorical purposes of
audience profiles and tend to write off that kind of information as
"marketing fluff."

Any thoughts?

Craig Branham

Course Developer
Rational Software Corp.
Redmond, WA


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