Learner Experience and UI Are Not the Same Thing

There are a lot of ways you can define learner experience and a number of examples, more posts on that topic are forthcoming. What we can say with a good deal of certainty is that learner experience and a good UI are not the same thing. A good learner experience WILL have a good UI, but I’ve heard a few people look at a landing page on an app and say “it has a great learner experience,” or re-classify the role of “instructional designer” as “learning experience designer.”

We’re not the first group to struggle with that. User experience designers themselves have struggled with disambiguating the work of UX from UI. Here’s a FANTASTIC article on the topic.

So what is in scope for a learning experience designer: everything. It includes the emails a learner gets to let them know they should register or a new offering is available, the app they land in to access learning, the content itself, the post-content opportunity to offer feedback, the presentation, the classroom activities, the facilitation and the video content. If you consider yourself a learning experience designer and you’ve never:

  • Done a usability study
  • Done interaction design
  • Completed field research or empathy interviews
  • Worked on product design (like a learning technology platform)
  • Worked on tweaking language ad nauseam to make sure a user understands what happens after you click a button

… you should probably expand your responsibilities. Don’t stop calling yourself a learning experience designer – we need that role SO much. We just need you to be an advocate for more than slick buttons, nice color schemes, and a great UI. We need you to work proactively to address the experience – whether that’s at scale through an application or for one particular experience like new hire training or management training.

Fight the good fight, make sure your learning experience design isn’t the same thing as “elearning designer,” and help us create amazing experiences for our talent!

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