The following is an except from The LX Designer’s Handbook.

In this era of evidence-based learning design, relying on intuition and tradition to guide the practice or learning design simply doesn’t cut it any more.

The industry is exploding and the eLearning market as a whole is projected to be worth $32 Bn by 2020.

So it’s no surprise to find that instructional design is also evolving to take advantage of new, evidence-based approaches to creating learning experiences. 

From Learning Design To Learning Experience Design

Most of those reading this article are familiar with learning design both as a concept and a discipline. The idea behind learning experience design is somewhat different. The term serves as a replacement for the idea of an “instructional designer”.

This is a take on instructional design that feels like a better fit for the 21st century so far and there are more than a few fresh applications of technology that allows for the shift from course to learning experience.

According to Connie Malamed (who is credited by some with coining the new name) describes LX as:

LX Design Infographic

LX is of course far more nuanced than this and there has been quite a bit of writing around how it relates to user experience and instructional design.

For our purposes here, this general outline is sufficient.

Next, we’ll highlight some of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of a modern LX professional that are poised to fundamentally change the way the practice of learning design works.

The Changing tools of the modern LX Designer

Project-Based Learning project-based-learning-graphic

Project-based learning (PBL) is in many ways the embodiment of a learning experience.

When students are put through PBL, learning and skill-acquisition happens as a byproduct of practical group work. 

Students have to collaboratively work through a complex problem and solve it using a range of faculties.

This means that PBL weaves together many elements of effective learning such as:

– Social learning

– Goal-oriented action

– Ecosystemic validity

– Student-centeredness

Modern education technologies allow for the core elements of PBL, such as social learning, to happen at scale and with close monitoring by teachers.

Buddy Training


“Buddy Training” has a rather self-explanatory name. According to Pam Robbins buddy coaching is:

“A confidential process through which two or more professional colleagues work together to reflect on current practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace.”

Buddy Training combines explicit knowledge, e.g. knowledge gained from courseware and implicit knowledge e.g. part of their job that is essential to replicating what they do well, but can’t be written down easily.

Formalizing this process with a more structured approach can be very effective in learning contexts of all kinds.

Interactive Video


It’s common wisdom in learning design circles that video can be more engaging than simply using text. For many types of material, such as procedural instruction, video is simply the most efficient way to get the message across and be understood.

A well-produced video can help learners understand concepts that are obtuse when read and the pure sensory stimulation of multimedia can grab attention in the hands of a skilled producer.

Ultimately, however, a video is still a fundamentally passive experience. It’s entirely possible for a learner to be disengaged despite the merits of the video in question. This is why interactive video is such a promising tool, since it transforms video from a passive learning activity into an active one.

Learning Design for the 21st-Century

Adaptive learning and the general role of machine learning in the design process is set to be an important factor for the future, however, exactly how it will be implemented is still very much an open question.

” LX Design and the plethora of tools available, will leave no space to hide for outdated and ineffective pedagogies”

We’ve seen AIs such as IBM’s Jill Watson play an educational role to great effect , but machine learning whether as AI assistants or in the form of learning analytics, still has a long way to go before we understand it’s role in LX.

There is however, little doubt in regards to the fact that modern learning technology is on a steep incline, fast moving away from ‘traditional’ learning theories. 

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