See if this sounds familiar: Mom’s birthday is around the corner and she loves all things lavender. So, you pull up your handy-dandy search engine, and go on a quick hunt for artisan lavender soaps.
After a few seconds of scanning the results page, you find yourself at a nice little site with half a dozen bars of soap in your basket, along with infused oil, a lovely salve, a bottle of lavender honey, and you top your gift search off with what sounds like a heavenly warming anti-stress neck pillow.
Without a doubt, you're confident this adventure is sure to send Mom off to sleep in record time. As you click through the check-out process, the shop offers you simple shipping, along with gift-wrapping and a personal notecard.
You Place Order, and voila! You're done, you're officially in the lead for "favorite child," and you've been UX'ed!
User experience (or UX) design, in a nutshell, is crafting a journey that provides a user with the smoothest past from point A to point B. UX design, when done well, anticipates friction and informs decision points, with the end goal being to create a meaningful experience with a product, brand, or environment.
The intersection of UX and digital learning
What does this have to do with learning? Well, similar tools used to craft your experience through the aromatic world of lavender gifting are mapped over the learner’s path. experience flow (journey map), design patterns, A/B testing, schematics (wireframes), personalization and/or customization, and others, all can be used to plan and discover what encourages better engagement from your learning audience, which ultimately increases knowledge retention and course success.
Engagement takes more than just incorporating UX design methods throughout the learning design process. It also bakes in empathy alongside it. Why is this?
Noted learning design champion Connie Malamed wrote “…empathy involves more than just analyzing an audience. It’s about experiencing the feelings of others and understanding what it is like to have their challenges.”
UX designers, as it turns out, are typically great empathizers. Couple that with “ideation, and a knack for storytelling” along with an understanding of intrinsic motivation, and that is a powerful mix to add to your lessons to boost engagement. You could say UX design gives you the chops to add a bit of soul, turning a great course into a memorable one.
We’ve just scratched the surface here, but just imagine: what if your learners intuitively cruised through your courses and rocked their assessments, all of which you made more efficient through intentional UX design. With the exception of dreaming over fields of lavender, what more would a Mom or CLO want for their birthday!?
Interaction Design Foundation., “Learning Experience Design - The Most Valuable Lessons.”, October 2017, https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/learning-experience-design-the-most-valuable-lessons