Traditionally, business training has focused on completing tasks that do not have a significant impact on employee development and growth in the long run. In this age of users and personalization, talent developers must think beyond providing training courses and design and implement effective learning experiences from a learning experience design perspective.
What is Learning Experience Design (LXD)?
LXD is the science and art of creating user-centered and goal-focused experiences. It uses the principles of UXD (User Experience Design) in order to improve training outcomes while enhancing the participant’s retention and application of the content.
The goal is to promote powerful learning experiences that are effective and engaging as well as to offer relevant content based on participants’ needs and prerequisites. In short, it’s essential for any company that seeks to succeed in the growing need for well-trained talent.
In a number of the training and development programs that we have designed at IDESAA, we have taken a comprehensive focus on learning experience design to produce useful, engaging, enjoyable, and memorable learning experiences that also deliver easy-to-measure training results.
Today, people have multiple expectations when they take part in a training. They want something that’s enjoyable, that motivates them … and, most importantly, that they can apply immediately.
There are several ways to intentionally shape the learning experience that can be applied to online, in-person, on-site, eLearning, or any other training modality. Here are some of them:
Know and understand the participant
In order to motivate, we must first attract attention. A good way to achieve this is to provide solutions to the user’s possible problems and show how the training can be applied to their day-to-day life. Instead of focusing on content development, user-centered design has an in-depth focus on people, as they play specific roles within a company, and for their learning to be meaningful to them, you need to do the following:
- Develop empathy among the participants
- Immerse yourself within their world in order to learn from them
- Understand their challenges, needs, feelings, and weaknesses
- Recognize their capabilities and previous experiences
Each training module should have a distinct set of learning objectives that define the purpose of the training experience and its expected outcome. Make sure your learning objectives are:
- Relevant. The participants should be able to clearly identify the connection between a learning objective and their daily work.
- Achievable. By having a clear understanding of the skills gaps your participants need to fill, you will be able to define learning objectives that can be achieved within a realistic period of time.
- Results-oriented. How will participants demonstrate that they have gained new knowledge or skills? For example, think in terms of “The participant will be able to…”
Design activities and experiences
Think about what activity or experience might present a real challenge. We want them to design, analyze, and apply the concepts rather than simply memorizing them. Make sure the activities:
- Provide an opportunity to immediately practice/apply concepts
- Have clearly stated instructions or a clear process for carrying them out
- Include clearly defined standards of expected quality
As talent developers, we are in a key position to address fundamental talent needs in the organization and retain staff. Today, people have multiple expectations when they take part in a training. They want something that’s enjoyable, that motivates them and takes their backgrounds into account, and, most importantly, that they can apply immediately. This can all be achieved by following the principles of learning experience design.
I hope the aspects mentioned above will give you a new perspective on how to provide learning experiences that allow for reflection, growth, and the use of tools to solve challenges, which will result in your participants feeling motivated, acquiring new skills to improve their performance, and being encouraged to continue learning.
About the Author:
Yolanda Barquera is Director of Talent Development at IDESAA. She is a business coach and consultant in talent development and process analysis. She is passionate about development and processes of change and loves to get new opportunities to continue learning. She is a specialist in e-Learning project design and implementation.