Learner experience (LX) , as you may have heard, is about educators designing, strangely enough, for learners.

It may seem like a no-brainer – but it hasn’t always been this way. We used to talk about instructional design. Which, if you think about it, is an outdated and one directional model:

Instructor | Content > Learner

LX starts from the learner’s point of view and draws from a few different disciplines, as you can see in this explainer on LX. How does that translate to designing for learning (rather than instructing)? It involves these phases (thereabouts):

↓| Empathise – put yourself in your learners’ shoes
↓↑ Define – what do they need to do?
↓↑ Ideate – ideas, ideas, and more ideas about how to learn
↓↑ Prototype – do a rough plan or model or both
|↑ Test – try it out

Your learners’ shoes

Understand what works for your learners, before designing. Ask them. As educators, we’re good at empathy and listening to others so it’s a matter of focusing that. Of course what you design in your subject or course needs to be aligned with learning outcomes and objectives – where you’ve defined what it is students need to do.

Then comes the fun part – integrating what you know about your learners and learning objectives. Pose questions – what if we did this instead of that? You can call it brainstorming or ideating. It might get messy.

white board covered in writing and post-its
An example of learner experience design process.

LX borrows from design thinking principles and creative problem solving in business disciplines. Prototyping and testing are also an important part of the lx process. In the end, it’s about what works.

But as we know, learning and teaching is not perfect. Sometimes tweaking is enough, sometimes it’s a knock-down, redesign and rebuild! So whats’s the biggest take-away from LX? Learner first, then try out your ideas.

Want to know more about design thinking in general? Check out the masters:

Brown, T. (2008). Design Thinking. Harvard, Business Review, 86(6), 84-92. Available for download from IDEO


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