Of late, I’ve been talking a fair bit about my take on learning experience design (LXD). To me, it’s the elegant integration of learning science with engagement. Of course, I’m biased, as my two most recent books are specifically to those ends! I don’t claim it’s automatic, but I do believe that with practice, it gets easier. You need to address both process and product, of course.
Our goals are, ultimately, to achieve learning outcomes, typically retention and transfer. That is, retaining skills over time ’til needed and transferring to all appropriate (and no inappropriate) situations. This requires, cognitively, sufficient practice and an appropriate spread of contexts. Emotionally, it requires an initial hook and then maintaining commitment through the experience via relevant activities.
I’ve been running a workshop with my partner, Upside Learning, on the ‘missing bits’. That is, the fine tuning that takes what you normally do in ID and fills in the extra steps that will successfully provide the integration. It’s been great for stress-testing the workshop (stay tuned!), and extremely insightful. I get to hear what these smart and experienced folks are realizing in their own practices, and what they’re struggling to change. That’s my goal, of course: to help them bake learning science and engagement into their processes and products.
One of the concerns, not surprisingly, is that it takes more time. That includes upfront analysis (which clients can also resist). Then it requires a bit more thought on designing practice and winnowing content. Finally, it should be iterative. I’m not the only one focusing on the latter, of course. However, I argue that it ultimately really doesn’t take that much more time, but there will be a speed bump until the new way of thinking becomes automatic.
Still, it will require adjusting how we develop, to impact what we develop. Process and product are linked at the wrist and ankles. Understanding the underlying principles, the learning science and engagement integration, is a necessary foundation. That’s my take, I welcome yours.
I’ll be offering a free webinar with Training Magazine Network on the core principles of LXD on Wednesday March 22 at 9AM PT (noon ET). I note that if there’s a conflict, they’ll make the recording available afterwards if you register. I welcome seeing you there!
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