Understanding Learners: Leveraging Personas and Design Thinking for Better Learning Design


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Learning Experience Designer, Phylise Banner Consulting
Monica cornetti headshot t22 (1)
Founder and CEO, Sententia Gamification
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Communications Director, KPMG Business School
Webinar Recording Details
  • Date and Time
    Tue, Jul 16, 2019 at 12PM Pacific / 3PM Eastern
  • Duration
    1 Hour
  • Cost
    $0 (Free)
  • Want Access?
    Register to view the recording.


In order to design, develop, and deliver effective learning experiences, we need to understand who our learners are – what their learning goals are, what learning preferences they have, where they go to learn, and what challenges they face when learning. We also need a way to articulate these characteristics of our learners across all teams involved in the design process.

In the commercial space, product designers and marketers heavily rely upon “user personas” to help them become more aware of their customers. Personas shed light on consumer habits and preferences. In the learning design space, we can develop learner personas to create shared insight into our learners’ needs and expectations, and help drive more learner-focused learning design decisions.

Join us as we explore the practice of integrating learner personas into the design, development, and delivery of training solutions.

In this session we will:
  • Detail the process of creating learner personas.
  • Discuss the challenges of working with learner personas.
  • Share effective practices for integrating personas into the design, development, and delivery of training solutions.
  • Highlight examples of how personas have guided design approaches on actual projects – including in gamification projects, as well as how KPMG is moving beyond “one-size-fits-all” learning by defining five distinct personas within its 36,000-person workforce.

About Phylise Banner

Phylise Banner is a learning experience designer with over 25 years of vision, action, and leadership experience in transformational teaching and learning approaches within academia and industry. A pioneer in online learning, she regularly seeks out and embraces opportunities to experiment with emerging pedagogies and technologies to create vibrant and engaged communities of practice. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Learning Environment Architect (CLEA), Adobe Education Leader, STC Fellow, performance storyteller, avid angler, and aviation enthusiast. She is also the proud owner of a 1967 Amphicar.

About Monica Cornetti

Monica Cornetti works with individuals and organizations who want to learn how to think playfully to achieve uncommon results.

A gamification speaker and designer, Monica was repeatedly rated #1 among the “Gamification Gurus Power 100” by RISE from 2015-2020, and this year was recognized as #1 in the Most Influential Women in Gamification who have created a legitimate impact in the gamification industry.

Monica is the President of Sententia, Inc. and leads the company’s education and design projects at Sententia Gamification. She is also the Gamemaster of GamiCon (the international conferences for the gamification of learning) and Head of Faculty at the Gamification Academy.

She is the author of the books Lipstick Lessons, What Were You Thinking?, Totally Awesome Training Activities Guide: Put Gamification to Work for You, and co-author of Deliberate Fun: A Purposeful Application of Game Mechanics to Learning Experiences.

She is a graduate of Seton Hill with a BA in psychology, and The University of Houston-Victoria where she earned a Master’s Degree in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.

Monica is hired for her skill as a gamification speaker and strategist and is considered at the top of her field in gamification design for corporate training and adult education.

When she is not busy changing learning with gamification, Monica can be found “researching” gameplay with her grandchildren.

About Michael Orth

Michael Orth is the Communications Director for KPMG Business School, the internal learning and development organization of KPMG LLP (US). Michael helps KPMG professionals across departments and business practices connect to learning opportunities. Through multifaceted campaigns, he promotes a mindset of continuous learning and builds awareness of the resources available to put that mindset to work. He also helps tell the story of KPMG’s commitment to the power of in-person collaborative learning, best seen in the firm’s investment in the KPMG Lakehouse, a world-class 800-person Learning Center scheduled to open in January 2020.

Michael also plays a direct role in connecting professionals to learning. Over his fifteen years with the firm, he has presented, facilitated, and instructed multiple in-person sessions across the country, and has created engaging video and digital assets to add depth (and sometimes humor) to in-person and digital programs on a wide variety of topics.

Michael is a graduate of the University of Virginia. His early career focused on theatre performances for family audiences: he appeared in schools, universities, libraries, theatres, and large festivals including the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap and the Dublin Theatre Festival in Ireland. He then applied these skills to the business world, delivering innovative presentations at meetings, training, and recruiting events for clients ranging from professional services firms to major airlines. He joined KPMG in 2004.

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