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Adding Diversity to eLearning Projects with Characters

I’m enjoying consulting on a variety of eLearning projects for Hess Corporation; very nice people, and interesting challenges.  I’m always impressed at how strongly large corporations like Hess and MetLife are committed to an ongoing policy of re-examining their processes and enhancing their eLearning to better engage and empower the target audience.  And the fact that they seek an “outside eye” like mine is another sign that they’re not looking to repeat themselves or rest on their laurels, which is great news for their employees.

One easy way to make your eLearning “speak” to your audience: add character.  Make sure your images, and your voiceover talent, reflect the breadth of your company’s talent pool–not just male/female, but also different cultures and different generations.  If your course has two narrators, why make them two men of roughly the same age, basically indistinguishable from each other?  When you differentiate them, you create more unique and interesting characters, and you also reflect more of your employee base.  If one narrator is a young Caucasian man from New York, perhaps the other is a middle-aged or older woman from India.  Perhaps one is the mentor and one the “newbie” at the company; and don’t assume the young person is always the new kid!  Of course, the personalities you choose will differ depending on the course material being presented, and on your target audience for a given project.  But it’s a double win when you embrace the many different kinds of diversity and give your course narrators and images some real, and relevant, character.