Purpose and Audience
There are many reasons for creating an online learning program, and understanding the reasoning of your organization is critical to the ultimate success of your program. Today’s online learning programs and schools offer a broad range of online courses and services to reach a variety of students, from struggling to gifted, who seek personalized pathways to learning opportunities.1 Additionally, many schools have reasons for starting an online learning program related to teacher availability, course variety and finances.
Many educators are finding that online and blended learning are effective ways to reach students who fail one or more courses, become disengaged, or who seek an alternative to traditional education.2
It is helpful to carefully describe your target audience. You probably have a good idea already about simple characteristics like the grade levels you wish to serve. Begin by writing down the student characteristics that you have already considered.
To get more specific, the worksheet, Online Learning: The Opportunities It Can Provide; the Problems It Can Solve describes a number of more specific purposes and target audiences.3
This worksheet can be used with groups of stakeholders to identify the priorities of each group and your organization as a whole. These discussions will not just identify your target audience and your primary purposes. They may also uncover many assumptions and myths that members of your group may hold.
References for footnotes can be found on the resources page or click on the footnote number for a direct link.