Here in the LxD world, we’re very much accustomed to assessing and evaluating learners. Don’t forget that design needs to be evaluated too. To develop effective instructional design, remain cognizant of performance areas that an evaluation would measure.
What impression do aesthetics leave on the user? A huge impression. Last Friday night I found myself perusing the internet for a new dinner spot. I came across several enticing menus. However, I quickly narrowed down my options as I clicked on each restaurant site. Some were vibrant, inviting, and easy to navigate. Others were text heavy, too linear, and colorless. I eliminated the latter from my list. The fact of the matter is, that first impressions weigh heavily. The same rings true in instructional design. Remember, most learners we design for are obligated to sit through instruction. At the very least, we can create visually appealing experiences.
Is your content relevant or excessive? Can learners take content and complete modules seamlessly, with little confusion? These are questions to ask as you gauge the ever so vague “efficiency” metric of Learner Experience Design. The efficiency of a learning experience relies upon how clearly content is delivered. Even if content is relevant, if presented obscurely, it is of little use to the learner. Create challenging modules without confusion. This will ensure that effective learning AND instruction is taking place.
As Learner Experience Designers, some of the topics we write around are complex. Remedy this challenge for learners by exercising clarity in the delivery of content and instruction. Are both your content and UI easy to follow? Or do learners get lost between pages and modules? Do learners know what to do next? I can’t tell you how many interfaces I’ve visited that lack simple “Next” buttons when coming to the end of a section and I am supposed to move on to a subsequent page. Make content clear. Keep instructions simple.
Is the learning experience consistent? Providing an element of predictability creates a sense of familiarity between the user and the interface. Put learners at ease, by giving them a system to work with that is dependable and reliable. Additionally, placing learners in control of pacing is extremely beneficial to the experience.
The level of engagement and interaction behind your instructional design will make or break the learning experience. I am a huge fan of gamified learning, and connecting instruction to things that learners may already be familiar with. Great learning typically doesn’t feel like learning at all!
As an educator, I am obsessed with creating learning experiences that my students haven’t been exposed to before. I identify a multitude of ways to deliver content before going down one road. I like to diversify my instruction, so that my students have a memorable and worthwhile learning experience. Simulations, scenarios, and role playing have been extremely helpful with this in the past. I also aim to customize learning experiences for the demographic of learners.
What do you find to be the most difficult factor to consider, when designing learning experiences? Share your comments below!