Learning Experience Design vs. Instructional Design

Instructional Design


Living in the 21st century, where everything keeps evolving, Learning Experience Design (LXD) is a new term. It has been moving around the spheres of Instructional Design (ID) and eLearning. Also, the term Learning Design System (LDS) has emerged describing a system that is used to design corporate training for learning and development professionals. 

If you’ve heard these, you must have many questions in your mind like,

  • “How is this new term Learning Experience Design (LXD) different from the already existing Instructional Design (ID)?”
  • “Do I need a Learning Design System (LDS), or is it still okay to use my own method?”
  • “What’s the advantage of Learning Experience Design (LXD) over existing Instructional Design (ID)?”
  • And more!

If you’ve researched about it, then you might have understood that everyone has a different approach to these two terms Learning Experience Design (LXD) and Instructional Design (ID)

In this blog, we will explore the actual difference between LXD and ID. Go through the entire blog and by the end of it, you will clearly understand the difference between the two. We’ll dovetail Learning Design Systems (LDS) as we go along!

What is Instructional Design (ID)?

Instructional Design (ID) focuses on creating different materials and learning experiences in a way that results in the application and acquisition of skills and knowledge. It follows the system of developing materials, assessing needs, evaluating the effectiveness, and designing a process. In the field of workplace training and learning, ID provides a systematic and practical approach for designing the curriculum effectively.

In addition, it develops and designs content, solutions, and other experiences to support the new skills and knowledge. The instructional designer initially conducts a needs assessment to identify the needs and requirements of the event. This step might also be completed by a Strategic Performance Consultant, or Internal Performance Consultant.  Either way, the step needs to be done.  This can include things that the participants already know, the goal of the learning program and to clearly identify the gap. Then, analysis is conducted to establish what must be included for participants to practically carry out their tasks as a result of their learnings and training.

What is Learning Experience Design (LXD)?

Learning Experience Design (LXD) focuses on creating a unique learning experience that enables the participants to achieve their desired outcome in a goal-oriented and human-centric way. It emphasizes designing a goal-oriented and human-centered experience and is referred to as a blend of user experience design and learning science.

People often use this approach to incorporate social-emotional learning, learning science, and design thinking. It puts the participant at the center of the learning process based on the goals, needs, and requirements. It also focuses on identifying the barriers and find solutions to those barriers. This helps create a helpful and engaging experience for the participants. ID9 Intelligent Design is an example of a Learning Design System that achieves learning experience design.

Learning Experience Design vs. Instructional Design

Despite the nature of the learning experience of both the designs, there is no clear distinction between the two terms. We will discuss every aspect in detail to give you a better understanding of the approach.

1.      Human-centered Design

The human-centered design approach of LXD allows you to provide an experience with which people can relate. Instructional designers use target audience analysis to understand their target audience closely. The learner analysis goes well with user experience interviews which is why the instructional designers use the same techniques to understand their audiences deeply and create learner personas. Hence, the human-centered design is the key element of a well-versed instructional designer.

2.      Goal-oriented Design

A goal-oriented design focuses on the products that should have appealing and practical features. These products are mainly those that are used to enhance and facilitate a learning experience. Instructional Design initially arose from the need to bring improvement in the performance of people. This is carried out by teaching new skills and knowledge to the participants to ensure that the field is practical and goal-oriented in nature.

Instructional designers identify practical interventions which include non-learning solutions. The entire appeal of the intervention depends significantly on how closely the instructional designer understands the audience. However, experienced instructional designers must put their business goals and learning at priority. These instructional designers will further determine how effective and appealing their solutions are during the evaluation of the participants.

Therefore, since the experienced instructional designers consider learning and non-learning solutions during the analysis so, the instructional design will arguably be more goal-oriented as compared to LXD.

3.      Theory of Learning

An LX designer comprehends how the participants learn from their experience and how human cognition would work. At the same time, the ID relies heavily on the nature of learning. The instructional designers practically use learning science regularly in order to help people achieve their goals through their learnings. These theories are then broken down into different ID books to underpin ID education.

4.      Learning put into practice

It is important to have a practical as well as theoretical understanding of the learnings. Almost every instructional designer would agree that it is essential to have a practical experience of what people have learned. The main task of the instructional designer is to help people learn. The designers often self-teach themselves to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and concepts.

LXD – A Brand of Instructional Design

Most instructional designers don’t focus on science, conduct analysis, or push boundaries based on the learning experiences. This may be because the designers took on the role without getting enough training as instructional designers. Some may have attended a traditional Train-the-Trainer program, or an instructional design course, but many are self taught.  Or perhaps it’s because of the organizational pressure to bring out the information training without proper analysis.   

There are a lot of reasons why the information designers skip analysis and settle for off-target goals. This is why most of the corporate training and eLearning has now moved towards PowerPoint presentations, which is often not training at all, but merely a presentation. Some learning and development professionals use design thinking to identify how they could rebrand ID as a new design discipline. Therefore, this might be the reason why LXD faced a backlash against the PowerPoint-style of eLearning that is common all around the world.

In addition, the instructional designers have started to differentiate themselves from the other traditional peers. So, while the LXD tools and techniques are still looked upon as ID techniques, the LXDs portray themselves as progressive and learner-focused with the technologies they use.  


To sum it up, there are a many differences between learning experience design and instructional design. ID opts for LXD titles to differentiate themselves from the regular IDs. Whereas LXD refers to a certain brand of ID, but its concepts often do not resonate with traditional corporate training stuck in PowerPoint or Google slide presentations.

Therefore, perhaps it’s better to push the boundaries with the work, and the results not the titles.

If you’re planning to become Certified as an ID9 Professional, you’ll instantly join the global community of IDs and LXDs.