To be a designer you have to think like a designer. Good design, in my opinion, means having the ability to empathise with the person you are designing for. It doesn’t matter whether that is a user, and we are talking user experience design (UX), a customer, meaning customer experience design (CX) or a learner, and we are therefore talking about learning design or even more on trend…’learning experience design'(LXD).
what about the X
It’s important of seek to understand the meaning of these titles, beginning with where they originated from. The idea of education as a design science spawned out of the emergence of increasingly unstructured and unformalised learning that grew with the development of online technologies in the 1990’s. With this came the need for a set of design principles to formalise what could be understood as ‘good practice’.
The design of learning can occur as both an experience or as a journey. A learning experience is usually a one-off and might expose the learner to a handful of skills and attitude shifts (an event, interactive, workshock etc.) whereas a learning journey seeks to create a deeper impact (a behavioral change, mindset shift, new understanding or otherwise).
Elements of good practice learning design include, but are not limited to:
- a vision, ideal outcome or end goal;
- an understanding of the learner;
- a pedagogy or way of teaching (which can be learner-led, project-based, experiential, dialogic or explicit instruction of content);
- an understanding of the required skills, attitudes, competencies and knowledge areas;
- an idea about the best way to sequence those;
- space for feedback and reflection, ideally with people of varying abilities;
- consideration of assessment or a way of knowing if the desired learning has been attained.
Ultimately, the design involves piecing that together in a way that engages with the learner through meaningful human connection. Standout learning journey’s and experiences are a process of self discovery and for this reason the best designs evolve with learner input along the way.
Sure learning design can be static, but personally, I believe someone needs to be there to support, nudge and guide learners when they get stuck or experience ‘the dip’. This includes someone, a teacher, coach, guide or otherwise, who can support the learner to get out of their comfort zone. To push the learner to their edge and support them to ingrain the learning.
With this, a kickass design allows freedom to play, a space to laugh/cry/share and fosters psychological safety because there are clear rules, roles and responsibilities.