Profiling Target and Potential Learners Today and into the Future

  • Shalin Hai-Jew


Conducting an early learner profile for a particular subject domain may help identify whether there is a potential market for the conceptualized open-shared learning objects and sequences…and may inform learning designs for target and potential learners. This chapter focuses on the importance of learner-centered design or the general idea that the design of learning accommodates understood learner needs and interests. This is not to say that all learner needs are accommodated because there are learning benefits for those who are able to adjust and adapt to the learning context. This chapter describes the importance of rough learner profiling as a framework, some relevant dimensions of such profiling, and how to use such profiles to enhance the design, development, and delivery of open-shared learning contents. This work shows the importance of using empirics to profile target and potential learners, and also to use profiles to constructive ends, not any potentially harmful ones (such as stereotyping and limiting learner options or denying access to particular groups). Also, this work emphasizes the efficacy-testing of learner profiling on learning resource designs and development and the resultant learning.


Target learner Potential learner Learner profiling Learner-centered design Usability On-the-fly behavioral profiling Demographics Great unused 


Key Terms and Definitions

Cultural profiling

Applying an individual or group’s cultural background as a filter through which to understand the target individual or group (with “culture” defined as the collective values, thinking, and practices of peoples at particular times and spaces)

Data mining

The identification of intrinsic patterns in data and information

Demand-side forecasting

Projecting user interest in a product or service based on empirical and other data and research methods


Statistical data about human populations and sub-populations, including counts of people by age, race, class, and other factors

Language profiling

The application of native language(s) as part of understanding individuals and groups

Learner profiling

The describing of learners by rough details, usually based around particular dimensions and indicators

Potential learner

A profile of individuals and groups who may find a particular open-shared learning resource of-interest for their own learning

Profile extraction

The uses of user-based log data to describe learners

Target learner

A profile of individuals and groups who have a learning object or sequence built in anticipation of their needs and wants


Fitness for use

User model

A representation of target learner group’s knowledge related to the domain topic and related topics and their preferences for the learning (in context)


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Additional Reading Section

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shalin Hai-Jew
    • 1
  1. 1.Information Technology Services (ITS)Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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