Learning trends

Understanding the Different Types of Learner Profiles to Optimize Your Strategy

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Learner profiles

Article 4 of 5
This article is the 4th component of the qualitative study produced for CrossKnowledge* among a representative sample of its customers across 4 markets with different cultures and maturity levels in terms of distance training practices.
Study carried out by SpringVoice, a marketing research and strategy consultancy specializing in questions of positioning, understanding customers and purpose.

To optimize the contribution made by training and ensure it acts as a genuine springboard, it is important to understand the learner profile of each of your employees, their needs, and what motivates them. Our research helped us identify 4 of the most common learner profiles in the 4 countries we included in the study.

Motivation can vary drastically by profile

LEARNER PROFILE 1: David, the “model employee”

This is the most commonly encountered learner profile, accounting for more than 50% of the sample

Main learning motive:

“Learning helps me do my job well, stay up to date and progress in my career.”

Other motivations:
Basic needs:

LEARNER PROFILE 2: Nicholas, the “ambitious perfectionist”

“I fight my way up through the ranks to take my career forward, and set myself goals to get there.”

Main learning motive:

“Developing new skills means improving yourself, staying on top and sticking to the path you’ve set”

Other motivations:
Basic needs:

LEARNER PROFILE 3: Romy, the “explorer of possibilities”

Main learning motive:

“Learning new skills provides the means for transformation, and refreshing new perspectives.”

Other motivations:
Basic needs:

LEARNER PROFILE 4: Joseph, the “emotional leader”

This profile only represented a small part of our sample.

Main learning motive:

“Learning new skills helps me to be an inspiring leader, and to grow as I help others to grow.”

Other motivations:
Basic needs:

Not everyone fits into the 4 key profiles

In addition to the main profiles described above, two more marginal learner profiles emerged.

Paul, the “minimalist”

He is not particularly motivated by his work, and relatively passive. He rests on his past achievements to get by. His goal is to stay up to date just enough to do his job, with little effort towards improvement. His participation in training courses is minimal, mainly because he doesn’t want to dedicate the time.


Luna, the “chameleon”

She looks at training as a way to transform or even reinvent herself.

“I want to change direction in my work, try something new or even do something completely different.”

Although apparently less captive, she is open to transformation and is a potential vector for change – in herself and her company. In these particularly complex times, her flexibility can be a real asset.

Your training programs should be designed for your learners

There is no such thing as “one size fits all” training. This is a very antiquated way to approach learning, given what we know about brain science. When you design your training programs, think about learner profiles: who your learners are, what motivates them, and how they learn. Personalized learning is more impactful to the individual, and ultimately more beneficial to the organization as a whole.

If you enjoyed this, continue on with the 5th article in our original research series!