Since 2013, we have been working with companies and organisations to develop and deliver learning solutions that solve real learner problems. In 2016, we developed the concept of LXD for language learning and introduced it to our work. Since then, it’s been at the core of what we do, helping learning organisations and publishers to develop their digital products.

What is learner experience design (LXD)?

Learner 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, both in ELT and beyond. 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 ELT – that learners are often poorly served by the products available to them. We noticed that too many digital language products were delivering a disappointing learner 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 learner experiences help people learn better, and to learn what they actually need to. We also believe that good learner experiences can be designed.

The Ed-Tech disconnect

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

We believe that designing great learner experiences requires giving proper consideration to the areas of pedagogy, content, user experience (UX) and interaction. Finally, we believe that designing learner 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 Learner 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.

You can find more about how we put all of this into practice on our learning design page.

7 Comments

  1. 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.

  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.

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