What is Learning Experience Design?

What is learning experience design (LXD)?

Learning Experience Design is a process that puts learners at the centre of all the decisions product teams make in order to make their learning more effective and delightful.

We developed a practical, learner-centred approach to product design that helps to deliver great learner experiences. The result of good LXD is products that delight users and improve the overall effectiveness of their learning.

The concept of Learner Experience Design (LXD) is at the heart of the work we do with our clients, in a wide variety of fields and subject areas. As we explained in our post, We need to talk about LX, we believe LXD is about making the best possible use of content, UX, interaction and pedagogy when designing and developing learning products – and doing so should result in more enjoyable and effective learner experiences.

How did we get here?

There’s no excuse for bad LX
We developed our LXD process and tools to address what we saw as being a critical issue in online learning – that learners are often poorly served by the products and courses available to them. We noticed that too many digital learning products were delivering a disappointing learning experience (LX). For us, bad LX looks like the following: 

“Not only did you fail to learn something; you had a horrible time trying.”
LearnJam, We need to talk about LX

In short, we believe that great learning experiences help people learn better, and to learn what they actually need to. We also believe that good learning experiences can be designed.

The Ed-Tech disconnect

From our extensive research into digital learning products, we noticed that they tended to fall into two camps: those that came from an established learning providers or educational publishers, and those that came from tech companies or startups. Those from established learning organisations often demonstrated solid pedagogical approaches and provided high quality content, whereas less consideration was given to UX and interactions. Similarly, products from tech companies had great UX and often innovative in the interactions they facilitated, but their pedagogical approach was often flawed or outdated and the content was sub-par.

We believe that designing great learning experiences means giving proper consideration to the areas of pedagogy, content, user experience (UX) and interaction. Finally, we believe that designing learning experiences requires regular and meaningful interaction with actual learners.

The 4 elements of great LX

We’ve continued to add to this approach in the work we do, through publications such as our chapter on LXD in Routledge’s Digital Language Learning and Teaching, and through events such as the LXD Meetups (which we run in collaboration with Zahra Davidson) and at events that we run and attend.

At our Innovate EdTech event in 2017, we took the opportunity to ask some of the delegates and speakers what Learning Experience Design means to them. It was great to hear such a wide variety of responses, but also the growing recognition of LXD as a concept and something that really is needed. We think that a greater focus on LXD is vital in all areas of learning and in the design of learning products and services more widely, and we want to see it continue to develop with input from from anyone willing and able to contribute.

7 thoughts on “What is Learning Experience Design?”

  1. Learner experience design concerns itself with attempting to create an environment that makes learning relatively easy for the student. This process assumes constant iteration and designers who are aware of many facts and theories about how people best learn and how they best interact with physical and electronic environments. In addition LX designers constantly study and seek feedback on how students react to the environments they create.

  2. Great to see LXD emerge and develop. From personal experience, this is long overdue. Many online courses seem trapped in a loop of dated design and limited interaction. There must be something wrong when most apps on your smartphone are leagues ahead in UX. Here’s hoping LXD will drag online learning into the 2020s.

  3. Absolutely agree, Andrew! We’ve been banging the drum on this for years – things have moved on, but there’s a long way to go yet.

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