A designed approach to learning experences

Limestone one-room Kansas schoolhouse, built May 1882

Yesterday, Matthew Moore of Innotecture,  sparked a lively discussion on the eLearning Guild discussion board on LinkedIn.

“Do we need to move from instructional design to experience design?” he asked.

Matthew highlighted some gaps in common approaches to elearning design, such as:

  • insufficient user research
  • product-oriented, rather than managing a learning experience
  • a focus on test scores, subjective ratings or completion rates, rather than meaningful metrics

Others  jumped into the discussion with wide-ranging comments, from renaming the discipline currently called “instructional design” (I suggest Learning Experience Design — LxD ),  to borrowing liberally from other disciplines to hone our craft, which I also endorse.

I’ve been on a quest to find others who care as much as I do about a designed approach to learning experiences.   I’ve been looking for this kind of dialogue ever since I graduated from the Center for Distance Education at Athabasca University last April. I knew there were some people who share this orientation. Recently, for example, I discovered that a relative of mine by marriage, Ken Badley, of George Fox University, shared my interest in applying the patterns approach of Christopher Alexander to the design of learning experiences. So I’ve been looking for others, and when I read all the responses to Matthew’s post, I was excited. Yes, I have a community!

So I am wondering if you can tell me if we are all just missionaries, or if there there currently any organizations, in academia, the corporate world, or anywhere, where:

  • practioners of LxD employ rigorous research and analytical methodologies to deeply understand learners?
  • LxD is a collaborative, Agile process?
  • learner and organizational outcomes are measured meaningfully?
  • those measurements are incorporated into future iterations of the learning experience design?

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