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What Is LXD – Learning Experience Design?

Damian Hehire-learning, UAE

What Is LXD – Learning Experience Design?

Just when you think you are up-to-date with modern abbreviations, a new one comes along. One that is fairly new is LXD – Learning Experience Design. It’s an important one, though, particularly if you’re responsible for training in your organisation.

This is because LXD is pushing up the standards of e-learning courses both here in Dubai and in the rest of the world. In fact, professional and high-quality e-learning course developers already adopt many LXD principles. Understanding LXD as a concept properly, however, puts structure to the process of creating e-learning courses that are focused on learners.

What is LXD?

LXD is the marriage of UX Design and Instructional Design:

  • UX Design – UX Design is about focusing on the user experience. The aim is to make the user as satisfied and happy as possible. It is applied to a range of materials and products, however UX is most commonly used in relation to website design. In website design, UX covers everything from ensuring the website appeals to visitors to making sure visitors can easily navigate and find whatever it is they need.
  • Instructional Design – Instructional Design is the practice of designing courses in a way that maximises positive outcomes, i.e. course completion rates, skills acquisition, knowledge retention, etc. It has a design element, but the focus is on using design to ensure the learner acquires new knowledge efficiently and effectively.

LXD, therefore, is about ensuring the learning experience is as good as possible while also ensuring the e-learning course effectively achieves its objective of improving the knowledge and skills of learners.

How to Adopt LXD Principles

LXD involves taking a holistic approach to the learning experience. In other words, it’s not just about the content or the topic.

In addition, learners are at the centre of an LXD approach to e-learning development. So, while it’s important to ensure courses are successful from a company point of view, the main focus should be on making sure courses are also enjoyable, informative, engaging, and relevant to the learner.

To do this, you need to do two main things:

  1. Fully understand the learner – this includes understanding their current level of knowledge as well as their existing skillset. It also means understanding the learner’s motivation for completing the course, i.e. are they doing it because you told them to or is there a greater level of self-motivation. In addition, understanding the learner also means understanding their day-to-day experience. This includes the people they interact with, the pressures they face, the challenges they must overcome, and more.
  2. Develop the course from the perspective of the learner – all too often, e-learning courses are developed from the perspective of the company or creator. This is often the case for understandable reasons, but it doesn’t deliver the best possible learning experience. The only way to focus on the learning experience is to use your understanding of the learner to develop the course from their perspective.

Characteristics of LXD

LXD covers various elements – too many to list. This is because an LXD approach to e-learning development must consider all aspects of the learning experience, including how learners receive and get access to the course, the environment they will be in when completing the course, the social interactions they may have with other learners, any help that is available from trainers, the content itself, the navigational structure and tools, and more.

However, there are common characteristics of e-learning courses developed using LXD principles. Those characteristics include:

  • The focus is on the learner
  • Experiential learning is crucial to LXD, so courses will have several learning-by-doing elements, including scenarios
  • The flow of the course and the order of the content not only ensures the learner grasps the topic, but also ensures learners can progress through the content easily and without frustration
  • There is a consistency of tone and message
  • There is a variety of media including text, images, animations, videos, quizzes, scenarios, gamification elements, interactive videos, and more
  • There is a good spread of media to, for example, ensure parts of the course don’t contain too much text, or to prevent all the videos being clustered in the same part of the course
  • The navigational tools are intuitive and easy to use including, for example, buttons, links, and arrows on mobile devices as these can be more difficult to tap with a finger than click with a mouse
  • The content itself will have direct relevance to individual users, usually through small group or individual-level customisations
  • The course should be intuitive and, whenever progress becomes complicated, there should be easy to use tooltips
  • The pace of the course as learners move through the content should feel natural to learners
  • There are often breakout sections in LXD e-learning courses to enable learners to go into more detail about a particular topic, but only if they choose to do so
  • The e-learning course should deliver the required outcomes including learning outcomes as well as an acceptable return on investment
  • Not only will the course have feedback features included, but real and meaningful changes will be made to the course based on the real experiences of learners

Taking an LXD approach to developing e-learning courses requires a different way of thinking. As with UX in website design, however, focusing on the holistic experience of learners will turn a good e-learning course into a great one.