"If we can distract user focus away from simply 'passing the course', they've a greater chance of actually learning from the experience"
What is LX Design and why is it important? Well, it's experience design in this digital era, but specifically relevant to learners. As a user, I can 'experience' digital content without being educated by it. For knowledge to be transferred, those receptors need to be stimulated... something Instructional Designers have not always prioritised. The basic premise of experiential learning is ACT: PERCEIVE: ADJUST. By creating interactive content designed to contextualise possible outcomes then include opportunities to adjust their interactions, the user has a greater chance of experiencing the desired result; retaining this knowledge for future use.
I was introducing LX Design to one of my LinkedIn connections recently because we all know that learning is nothing new. The first fire-starters from 50,000 years ago surely would have communicated the consequences of poor safety standards; only now, we'd probably use an explainer video or branching scenario instead of holding their hand to the flame !
I've been a Learning Development specialist for 10 years now and have seen many advances in this field; technology is transforming my professional practices as significantly as it is in my personal life. Yet, digital learning should support coaching and on-the-job development, not supplant it. A blended approach allows for greater interactions, increased feedback opportunities and the ability to share insights that reflect on areas for improvement. Expectations are higher in this era of Digital Transformation, the technical revolution has sped up consumer evolution; people expect their needs to be met soon after they've been identified. In order to cater to rapid changes, learning events must focus on the desired outcome, speeding up its ability to deliver a return on expectation.
In my role as a Freelance Learning Experience Designer, I collaborate with clients to efficiently design bitesize learning solutions at the point of need. But where I once dedicated time developing coding skills for more complex design elements, that valuable resource is much better spent getting to understand their business strategy and culture of learning. Innovative design features are instead available through rapid authoring tools or creation tool subscriptions such as Adobe Photoshop, Cyberlink's DirectorSuite 365 and Articulate 360 that speed up the creative process. For example, to ensure representation and inclusion, the Content Library within Articulate 360 is regularly refreshed with a diverse range of character cut-outs. LX Design is enhanced when the experience reflects the user's own reality, tapping in to their own values and motivators.
Another example of efficient LX Design would be to use scenarios and challenges that assess current knowledge levels (instead of wasting time telling users what they may already know). In fact, if we can defer their focus away from simply 'passing the course', a user has a greater chance of actually learning something from the experience. The age old adage "learn from mistakes" is probably why trainee Fire-Starters suffered so many burns but we can allow a safe space for users to confidently get things wrong in order to understand what adjustments are required. Maybe integrate Plotagon animations with bespoke video content, to visualise the consequences. Alternatively, machine learning and xAPI track user interactions in a sandbox interface - like Area9 Lyceum or Salesforce Trailhead for a real hands-on experience.
If your organisation has a suite of blended learning resources created with the goal of imparting information, describing processes and procedures or aim solely to tick the checkbox for Compliance Training, then it's time to take a closer look at how effective these may be. Have they improved the customer's journey? Are they delivering better sales results? Have your risk events been reduced? Are they engaging your employees with more opportunities for social learning and collaboration? If you've responded in the negative to any of these questions, then consider hiring a Learning Experience Designer for a quick, cost-effective solution.