QTNA #1: What is Learning Experience Design?

Welcome to Volume 1 of the “Questions that Need Answers” series on NylaLXD.com:

Today’s, #QTNA: What is Learning Experience Design?

Ok, I’ll be honest. There are certain things we love in this industry: new terminology, buzzwords, and think-pieces on the future of new terminology and buzzwords. As eLearning Guild CEO, David Kelly wrote, a buzzword is “a term whose usage is spreading faster than its understanding”. It can be a little much sometimes.

Sometimes, though, the buzzword has some legitimacy. Learning Experience Design (LXD) is one of those “things” of which I am a proponent. We needed a word to describe the natural evolution of Instructional Design (ID). Let’s define it:

Learning Experience Design (LXD) is the application of UX design principles of usefulness, usability, and desirability to create engaging learning activities that enable the learner to achieve the desired outcomes in a human centered and goal oriented way.

Yeah, but what is UX Design?

If you read that definition, there’s a small chance you’re like - “Ok, Nyla…but what the heck is UX?” There’s a slightly larger chance you already use UX design principles in your instructional design for e-learning. In any case, let’s talk about it.

User Experience Design (UX) encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with an organization, its services, and its products. It’s a process that puts the user first in the design of products that create meaningful and relevant experiences. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function. - (Interaction Design Foundation).

Ok, so what does that have to do with Instructional Design?

How many times has a course had ALL the information you needed, but it just plain SUCKED to take it? That course probably didn’t take the learner’s overall experience into account during the development phase. Perhaps it took too long to load a video, or the course kept crashing on the LMS.

Will Learning Experience Design replace Instructional Design?

I don’t think it can. Without Instructional Design, LXD is just UX. UX on its own is not enough to support performance goals or learning outcomes. This isn’t about replacing Instructional Design. It’s about helping you create effective courses that are also usable.

How can I learn more about Learning Experience Design?

Since LXD is picking up steam, you can find a plethora of newly updated research and information on LXD. Have some discernment to sort through the hype. When you do, you’ll be able to discover the best way to start incorporating LXD principles into your design work.


So you have a decision to make: Do you ride the LXD wave and see where the hype takes you? Or are you going to be a little more cautious, and see what people think about Learning Experience Design a few years from now? In any case, you can learn more about it on LearningExperienceDesign.com , eLearningIndustry.com , or with a quick Google search. You can also subscribe to my “UX for e-Learning Designers” series here.

I create resources for new Instructional Designers.