In the continuing process of resolving what I want to do when I grow up (rest assured, not happening), I’ve been toying with a concept. And I’ve come up with the phrase: Learning Experience Design (LXD) Strategist. Which of course, begs the question of just what LXD strategy is. So here’s my thinking.
To me, LXD is about the successful integration of learning science and engagement. Yes, cognitive science studies both learning and engagement, but in my experience the two aren’t integrated specifically well. You either get something flashy but empty, or something worthwhile but dreary dull. I remember a particular company that produced rigorous learning that you’d rather tear your eyes out than actually consume. And, similarly, seeing an award winning product that was flashy, but underneath was just drill and kill. For something that shouldn’t be.
Learning experiences should emotionally hook you (e.g. ensuring you know that you need it, and that you don’t know it). Then it should take the necessary steps such as sufficient spaced meaningful practice resourced with appropriate models and examples and specifically feedback. Ultimately, it should transform the learner. Learners go from not having a clue to having a basic ability to do and how to continue to develop.
What is LXD strategy? Here I’m thinking about helping orgs restructure their design processes, and their org structure, to support delivering learning experience designs. This includes ensuring up front that this really does deserve learning instead of some other intervention, such as performance support. Then it includes how you work with SMEs, how you discern key decisions, wrap practice into contexts, etc. It’s also about using the tools – media and technology – to create a well-integrated experience. Note that the integration can include classrooms, ambient content and interactivity, and more. It’s about getting the design right, then implementing.
LXD strategy is about ensuring that resources and practices are aligned to create experiences that meet real org needs under pragmatic constraints. That’s what I’ve been doing in much of my work, and where my interests lead me as well. And it’s still a part of the performance ecosystem. Understanding that relationship is critical, when you start thinking about moving individuals from novices, through practitioners, to expertise. And the numbers of areas that will need this are going to increase.
LXD is, in my mind, the way we should be thinking about ID is now as LXD. And we need to not only think about what it is, and how to do it, but also how we organize to get it done. That, I think, is an important and worthwhile endeavor. So, what’s your thinking?