Learning Experience Design: The Last Days of Instructional Design


The secret is finally out – the learning industry, as we have been knowing it, is heading towards an unexpected change. So, will you be ready for instructional design being evolved into learning experience design? Here’s everything you need to know about this paradigm shift and learning experience design (LXD).


The Major Paradigm Shift in The Learning Industry

Instructional design is being replaced by learning experience design in corporate learning. The proponents of learning experience design (LXD) explain that it has everything that instructional design has been missing. We know that instructional design has generally been criticized for not having learner-centric qualities. On the other hand, learning experience design is highly learner-centric and thus regarded as being superior to instructional design. The developments in the LXD discipline continue to make it the next best thing for the coming era. Let’s take a much-detailed look at what learning experience design offers, making it the ideal replacement for instructional design.

What Is LXD, And Why Is It Better Than Instructional Design

LXD creates learning processes that enable the learner to achieve the desired learning outcomes in a goal-oriented and human-centric way. On the other hand, instructional design is the creative way of delivering learning material to help in the optimal acquisition of skills and knowledge.

If we look at these explanations, we realize that both the learning disciplines are goal-oriented and help them acquire the skills they desire. However, the major point of difference between the two is that LXD is human-oriented and thus, gets one step ahead of instructional design. However, that’s not it. For most of history, we see that the critics of instructional design only focused on LXD being human-centered, informal, systematic, and creates something new out of everything. Still, the discipline goes a long way ahead of this.

We see that LXD is at its best since its origin, and there is very little research done in this discipline. This fact is interesting because it proves that LXD was built on user experience design with a learning twist. This notion has been reiterated by the famous author Sundeep Singh Pardal in his article “Learning experience design: what you need to know.” Following are some liberties that user experience design gifted to learning experience design:

  1. User experience design focuses on the ease of product and service usage following a human-based approach.
  2. User experience design is flexible towards digital learning solutions, making LXD usable, thus performing better.
  3. User experience design combines the elements of neuroscience, game design, design thinking, graphic design, and experiential learning, making LXD much more human-centered. This helps us clear a notion that LXD is not just about training materials, courses, and instructions.

There are still some questions about learning experience design that it does not answer. We have seen that LXD does not favor instruction delivery, courses, and training material, but is it more about experience and learner? In addition to that, the following are the questions that are still unanswered:

  1. How does LXD achieve business and organizational training goals?
  2. How is LXD going to evaluate the learning outcomes of its learners?
  3. Is there any structural framework that LXD follows?

Say Goodbye to Instructional Design

Although the instructional design has several strengths and benefits for learning, offering optimal performance-based solutions and measurable outcomes still has an equal count for inherent weaknesses. Instructional design was first developed for the US military and required highly qualified psychologists and similar professionals to implement it.

Nevertheless, when it was shifted to corporate training, the instructional design professionals were are not that highly qualified or trained. Most of these professionals were only shifted to this discipline because their job responsibilities changed. Many IT professionals had developed great instructional designs, but they never learned what the science of instructional design truly meant. The content developers in this area were only concerned about the development of content. They were least concerned about what happens before, after, and during the content was delivered. Thus, it had become an easy target for other practices to single out its weaknesses that included the following:

  1. The focus on the learner
  2. The environmental impact of learning
  3. And the systematic impact of learning

So, is learning experience design a natural evolution of instructional design? We know that it will not take much longer for instructional design to eliminate the debate and re-brand itself as a learning experience design.

Learning Experience Designers Will Be A Rare Find

Keeping all these analyses aside, it is clear that the highly qualified professionals in the practice of learning experience design will be hard to find within a couple of years. Following are some of the reasons why they will become a rare find:

  1. While the job descriptions remain the same, many organizations repost the same job ads just by changing instructional design to learning experience design. This is not ideal. A full rework of the skills and attributes as well as the LXD responsibilities is vital.
  2. Learning experience platforms will get more popular and offer an alternative to Learning Management System. Thus, the LX designers will be more focused on supporting LXP design.
  3. LXD is currently serving as a buzzword. There are many learning and development influencers and vendors who are striving hard to promote it. It’s your task to look beyond the glossy wrapping and advertising. Are they really doing true LXD?

Wrapping It Up

In a nutshell, we see that learning experience design (LXD) focuses on creating learning experiences using user experience principles and design thinking. The use of user experience design is giving too many liberties to this practice. While it has a significant gap in research, it still has a competitive edge over instructional design. Moreover, it has significant traction between learning and development professionals. Furthermore, today’s instructional designers have the potential to become the learning experience designers of tomorrow if they change their labels and continue working hard to get the grasp of the most needed skills in LXD.

If you or your organization is looking for a sustainable LXD solution that has definitive learning experience platform assistance, contact us today! We offer a full range of high-quality learning experience design modules as part of the revolutionary ID9 Intelligent Design system from which your organization can benefit and achieve the optimal performance benchmarks.