PUTTING EMPATHY AT THE CENTER OF INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN PROCESS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD: DISMANTLING AND RE-CONSTRUCTING PERSONAS
Putting empathy at the center of instructional design process is considered to result in superior learning experiences for learners as the materials designed this way address their specific learning and developmental needs. Designing with empathy requires the use of realistic personas in order to keep the exercise focused, and to enable the designer to â€œwalk in the shoesâ€ of the intended learners. But personas are versatile constructs that need to be constantly revised and updated to reflect the evolving needs of the people they represent. This is particularly true in early childhood where changing environmental factors due to the restrictions imposed by the covid-19 pandemic have led to changes in the social development of preschoolers, changes in teaching strategies, and a requirement for a dispersed, individually-focused approach to teaching and learning. The framework proposed here will enable instructional designers to construct relatable personas that reflect realistic learner needs as well as identify pain/need areas in individual learners that would require that materials and teaching strategies be tailored to address them.
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