Learner experience (LX) is a relatively new term for, and a narrowing of a field of study originally called user experience (UX). In LX, we consider how our design may impact the nature of the learning experience for the learner. Take a look at the following two-minute video from Don Norman, the designer who popularized the term UX in the 1990s while working for Apple.
So how might we envision LX in online learning in the broader way that Don Norman spoke of UX? Take a moment and consider how the learning experience connected with your online course might integrate into the broader experience of the learner who is taking it. Here are a few questions to spur on your thinking:
- How will learners feel when they first begin to navigate in your course? Will it be clear what they need to do?
- Will they encounter any surprises in your course? Will these surprises encourage or discourage their engagement?
- How does what they are learning integrate within the learners’ lives and work experiences? And how might you encourage this integration via your design strategy?
- Do you have feedback mechanisms envisioned for your course that will help you to hear from the learners about their experiences in your course?
A quick survey of the growing body of resources devoted to LX and UX reveals a variety of considerations we ought to keep in mind as designers of online learning experiences. One of the frameworks often used to describe LX or UX came from Peter Morville who devised what he referred to as the User Experience Honeycomb. If you would like to read Morville’s description of his thinking related to these categories, click on the image on the right.
Since Morville introduced these categories, a number of designers have reorganized them under a smaller subset of headings in order to simplify their design processes and strategies. We have chosen to adopt one of these simplified models and organize our LX strategies around Morville’s top three headings. You can see that we have integrated Morville’s other ideas as subcategories under these primary headings:
(we include findable and accessible under this heading)
This term is generally applied to the of ease of use for the learner in what we design. When learners come into your online course, will they be able to easily figure out what it is you are asking them to do? Will they be able to find what they are looking for and discern what they need to do to successfully achieve the learning expectations? Will learners with physical or cognitive impairments have the additional supports they need to achieve the learning goals?
(we include valuable and credible under this heading)
Adult learners are chiefly concerned that the learning they engage will be meaningful in their work, ministries, or lives as a whole. They will want to know how the material applies to their current life situation or aspirations for the future. Will your course provide your learners with the practical knowledge and skills they believe they need in order to be more effective in their specific work or ministry? How will you convince them that your course will be useful to them in these ways?
(we also include valuable and credible under this heading)
Peter Morville claims that “our quest for efficiency must be tempered by an appreciation for the power and value of image, identity, brand, and other elements of emotional design” . In addition to the aesthetics of your design, we would also add the dimensions of the ethics and veracity (credibility) of your design work. Does your course display the qualities of beauty, goodness, and truth that motivate learners to engage in the learning process?