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Hear From Expert Dr. Shalin Hai-Jew on Her Most Recent Publication

Guest Blog: Can Profiling Become a Positive Aspect of Education?

By Brittany Haynes on Feb 20, 2020

With experience and research insight, expert Dr. Shalin Hai-Jews’ most recently released publication is titled Profiling Target Learners for the Development of Effective Learning Strategies: Emerging Research and Opportunities and focuses on the practice of profiling prospective and current target learners through manual and computational means in order to better meet and improve their online and offline learning needs, as well as how those profiles influence the design, development, and provision of learning experiences. Read more about this publication and topic below:


Sometimes, when we think about “profiling,” challenging practices come to mind.  We may think of stereotyping, with people noticing single attributes of a person and generalizing from that dimension to other features of the person, such as that person’s character, personality, or being. People can over-generalize or go with the “shorthand” version of a person. Sometimes, profiling is used to make derogatory assumptions of the “Other.” Psychologically, people are often biologically hard-wired to draw fast conclusions as part of their built-in threat detection system, in which their survival depends on fast reads of the situation and fast reactions. Some will unthinkingly mistreat others or deny others fair treatment or opportunities based on negative stereotyping, potentially based on a non-thinking reactive fear response. Clearly, these would be misuses of a profile.  Smart people will go beyond initial impressions and explore the reality of the individual and treat others with respect and dignity and care. 

Positive Profiling

Human profiling can have positive implications, too, even if people do not use this particular term to describe their actions. 

  • In global health, cultural observations are used to ensure fit of health interventions to the local peoples.
  • In global marketing, cultural population profiles are used to avoid offense.
  • In employment, psychological profiles are run to test a person’s fitness for various professional roles including high-value ones where a lot of power exists in a position.
  • Psychographics are used to tailor strategic messaging. It is used for effective target marketing. 
  • Consumer profiling is used to sell goods.

As a tool, it is very powerful. Depending on how it is applied, profiling can be harnessed for positive outcomes. 

In an instructional design context, profiling target learner groups may involve learning more about learners, their backgrounds, their learning needs, their learning preferences, and how to design various learning experiences that suit their needs and learning assessments that are sufficiently varied to include the cognition and practices of the respective learners. Learner profiles can help tailor learning to what Lev Vygotsky called the “zone of proximal development” (ZPD).  When an instructional designer creates work, it should be for the highest and best outcomes for the learners.  I assume beneficence. 

Various Approaches to Learner Group Profiling

There are various applied ways to profile learner groups, with some available data, with other acquire-able data, with test and survey elicitations, and other approaches. In Profiling Target Learners for the Development of Effective Learning Strategies: Emerging Research and Opportunities (2020), a number of ways are suggested for profiling learners. Some involve learner self-descriptions. Other approaches involve empirical observations and abductive logic. Some are role-based. 

Social Guardrails

So often, a back-of-the-napkin sort of profiling occurs subconsciously.  Perhaps a more conscious, aware, “woke,” and systematic approach may result in better data and decision-making and actions.  

Perhaps adhering to the laws and professional ethics around human-subject research can inform how profiling may be applied, not in any Machiavellian or manipulative power-mongering sense, but for the good of others and ourselves. 

Follow-On Research in Learner Profiling

This book is a brief one, with only seven chapters. There are many other ways to conduct follow-on research in terms of learner profiling, with focuses on individuals and on groups and using a variety of techniques and data sources. 

“Profiling,” socially, can be a freighted term, based on misuses in the past and even into the present.  However, this descriptive term can be rehabilitated with positive applications that are beneficial to humanity, to learning, to instructional design, and other applications.   


IGI Global would like to thank Dr. Hai-Jew for sharing her research on profiling target learners for effective learning strategies. For more information about this research, view the publication here.


About Dr. Shalin Hai-Jew: Dr. Hai-Jew works as an instructional designer at Kansas State University (K-State) and taught for WashingtonOnline for a number of years through 2014. She has taught at the university and college levels for many years (including four years in the People’s Republic of China) and was tenured at Shoreline Community College but left tenure to pursue instructional design work. She has Bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology, a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Washington (Hugh Paradise Scholar), and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership with a focus on public administration from Seattle University (where she was a Morford Scholar). She reviews for several publications and publishers, and is editor of several IGI Global titles. Dr. Hai-Jew was born in Huntsville, Alabama, in the U.S.

Dr. Hai-Jew's publication, Profiling Target Learners for the Development of Effective Learning Strategies: Emerging Research and Opportunities, is available through IGI Global’s Online Bookstore and world-renowned InfoSci®-Books, a database of 5,300+ reference books.

With an annual subscription (2000-2020) offered as low as US$ 9,450 (one-time perpetual purchase for the current copyright year (2020) offered as low as US$ 20,500*), InfoSci-Books hosts key features such as full-text PDF and HTML format, no DRM, unlimited simultaneous users, and no embargo of content (research is available months in advance of the print release). Spanning across 350+ topics in 11 core subject areas, including computer science, education, media and communications, social sciences and humanities, and more, this robust research database is ideal for academic and research institutions.

Additionally, when a library invests in IGI Global’s InfoSci-Books database, they can take advantage of IGI Global’s Open Access (OA) Fee Waiver (Read and Publish) Initiative to provide their institution with an additional source of OA article processing charge (APC) funding. Through this transformative initiative, IGI Global matches the library’s investment with a fund of equal value to go towards subsidizing the OA article processing charges (APCs) for their faculty patrons at that institution when their work is accepted under OA into an IGI Global journal.**


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For your reference, find below a sample of related titles within education, which are also featured in IGI Global’s award-winning InfoSci-Books database and are available for purchase in print and electronic format. Be sure to recommend these titles to your librarian, to ensure your institution can acquire the most emerging research.

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Form, Function, and Style in Instructional Design: Emerging Research and Opportunities
Dr. Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, USA)

Copyright: © 2020 | Pages: 203 | ISBN: 9781522598336 | EISBN: 9781522598350

This scholarly publication explores attributes of instructional design in various real-world projects and how it is applied to learning contexts, technological contexts, visualization design, character design, and more. Highlighting topics such as affective learning, learning efficacy, and curriculum design, this book is ideal for educators, administrators, instructional designers, curriculum developers, software developers, instructors, academicians, and students.
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Handbook of Research on Integrating Digital Technology With Literacy Pedagogies
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Copyright: © 2020 | Pages: 636 | ISBN: 9781799802464 | EISBN: 9781799802471

This scholarly publication considers the integration of digital technologies in all levels of literacy instruction and prepares the reader for inevitable technological advancements and changes. Covering a wide range of topics such as augmented reality, literacy, and online games, this book is essential for educators, administrators, IT specialists, curriculum developers, instructional designers, teaching professionals, academicians, researchers, education stakeholders, and students.
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Special Education Design and Development Tools for School Rehabilitation Professionals
Prof. Ajay Singh (Texas A&M International University, USA), Prof. Mark Viner (Eastern New Mexico University, USA), and Prof. Chia Jung Yeh (East Carolina University, USA)

Copyright: © 2020 | Pages: 320 | ISBN: 9781799814313 | EISBN: 9781799814337

This scholarly publication examines special education practices and provides in-depth evaluations of pedagogical practices for improved educational experiences for students with disabilities. Highlighting a range of topics such as bilingual education, psychometrics, and physical education, this book is ideal for special education teachers, instructors, rehabilitation professionals, academicians, school administrators, instructional designers, curriculum developers, principals, educational software developers, researchers, and students.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.


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