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Learner Analysis: Student-Centered Considerations

Updated on February 25, 2013

Learner Characteristics

by Eric J. Specht


Learner analysis is an essential process of developing an effective instructional design. The design of an instruction is to target an audience or a learner in an attempt fill a performance gap. Therefore, it is imperative to identifying learner characteristics to establish design content concentrated on the learner’s needs. There are various learner characteristics, but some include intelligence, culture, disabilities, age, gender, ethnicity, and so forth (Katherine Cennamo, 2005).

Individualized Education Program

Persons with disability often require instructions that address individual needs. My daughter has Down Syndrome and every year, her teacher aid, school administers, and specialist (speech therapist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist) and I, discuss her objectives and goals to create an IEP or Individualized Education Program. The design specifically focuses around her intelligence level and her needs to progress. For example, my daughter did not like school because homework was sent home, so in an attempt to prevent educational setbacks we agreed to exclude it from her curricula.


Age also affects the design style. Today, most adults and children are familiar with advanced technology. However, seniors may not be, so an instructional design that implements activities that require technology can be a detrimental learning experience. My father is 57 and knows very little about how to purchase an item on the internet.

Multiple Intelligence

Intelligences is another learner characterization that affects the content of an instructional design. Renowned Theorist Howard Gardner claims individuals have multiple intelligences of different value: linguistic, logical, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, natural, and visual (Smith, 2008). For example, a visual learner attains information easier with visual assistance; whereas, a bodily-kinesthetic learner attains information more by doing or completing hands on activities. Therefore, intelligence strengths and weaknesses need to be a factor with learner analysis to develop the most effective design.


Katherine Cennamo, D. K. (2005). Real World Instructional Design. Belmont: Wadesworth Cengage Learning.

Smith, M. K. (2008, n/a n/a). howard gardner, multiple intelligences and education. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from Infed:


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