Learning experience design (LXD), a fairly recent branch of learning and development, was developed in 2007 by Niels Floor, a professor at Avans University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. He sums it up this way, “Learning experience design is the process of creating learning experiences that enable the learner to achieve the desired learning outcome in a human centered and goal oriented way.”
It focuses learning resources directly on the experience rather than a more traditional method where an instructor delivers information on a subject or a learner reads and completes an exercise to prove their knowledge.
The Learning Experience Design Process
In the world of traditional instructional design, a designer is often presented with a problem statement: support tickets are increasing (as are costs) around a particular process. Or perhaps a new product version is dropping, and an instructional designer (ID) is asked to update existing courseware.
In each case, the ID performs an analysis to determine the scope of the knowledge gap, and designs and develops a course or short training to close it. The ID tests, refines, implements the design, and then measures the success of the training.
LXD follows a vaguely similar process, but with some important differences:
● An LX designer starts with a question. In many ways, it seems like LXD questions are bigger, fuzzier, and broader than those probing a knowledge gap, even if they both address the same gap.
● Just as in traditional instructional design, the LX designer jumps right into research. The designer looks at the learners that the primary question targets and determines their motivations and interests that may create good learning outcomes. Typically this involves one-to-one interviews, focus groups, and other hands-on research to gain a deep understanding for an appropriate learning solution.
● Once the learner groups and the outcomes are understood, the LX designer (or team) brainstorms ideas as to how to craft interesting experiences that create an aha moment of learning without tedium. LXD encourages free-thinking to discover and identify the best way to deliver information.
● Because the learning is more experiential, LX designers often make use of gaming theory, videos, and quizzes as well as collaborative exercises such as role-playing, discussions, brainstorming sessions, and other activities that can involve each of the learners in a group.
● More than likely, an LX designer will include several types of experiences to make the learning more well-rounded and complete.
● Before going live with a course, a good LX designer will test the experiences with a target group of the intended audience, gather the comments and reactions, and perform knowledge checks to determine the effectiveness of the training.
Finding the Right Solution to Improve the Learning Experience
If you are looking to improve your learning experience, keep in mind that LXD does take a certain amount of up-front time researching your audience to discover a solution that provides the best possible experience for your learners. This includes an authoring and publishing solution that can support content reuse, as well as the ability to generate learning compliant content such as SCORM and xAPI output. Consider an authoring and publishing solution such as MadCap Software’s Authoring and Management System (AMS) to help you support the entire content development life cycle.
Homer Christensen is an information architect, MadSkills consultant, and an award-winning tech writer and UX designer. His client list includes Nestlé, Microsoft, Ellie Mae, Conga, and the State of California. When not writing or coding, he’ll likely be bikepacking, winemaking, or enjoying his permaculture garden.