First things first: Learning Experience Design definition
With the term ‘learning experience design’ being relatively new, we could not find a wide diversity of definitions to choose from. The most direct reference would be the one used by Niels Floor, the first proponent of the concept. According to Floor and his company Shapers, LXD “is the process of creating learning experiences that enable the learner to achieve the desired learning outcome in a human centred and goal-oriented way” (Shapers, undated).
This means that the learner is always in the front seat, with focus on who the learner is, what the learner must go through to learn, and on which form or medium works best. Drawing on a designer process, with non-chronological steps of research, experimentation, ideation, conceptualisation, prototyping, iteration and testing, one will end up with a situational experience that engenders powerful learning opportunities (Shapers, undated).
The creator of the term is a good source to draw on for theoretical background. In addition, our working definition needed to be adapted to the context of our project, namely for the educational field. For easier communication we settled on a short working definition and a more detailed definition for whenever we need more depth and detail, such as during our training activities.
Learning Experience Design is the process of deciding and designing what experience works better for someone to learn something - this is our simplified working definition.
In depth, Learning Experience Design is the process leading to the creation of a sequence of actions or activities that the learner(s) will go through to effectively learn something. This process should be learner-centred and goal-oriented. In practice, Learning Experience Design implies: exploring the learner characteristics, the desired learning outcomes and the environment in which the experience will take place; designing the space, the steps and activities; setting-up the experience itself; and testing or iterating to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Design thinking in education is up-and-coming. While educators draw on different design approaches, the common rationale is that educators are being increasingly challenged to make education more evidence based (Mor and Mogilevsky, 2013). Mor and Mogilevsky go on to argue that “design science” is the way forward for higher quality practice of education, as it is both a form of awareness raising and a tool of implementation at the same time. Design thinking, as described also by Floor and his team, requires a constant flow back and forth.
As educators work with various people in different settings, and for ever-changing settings and situations, the habit of adaptation, contextualisation and perpetual evolution, is crucial.
This project’s entry point into design thinking is, as stated above, learning experience design. A Google search for the exact term “learning experience design” generates 476.000 hits. We have no way of assessing the relevance of all those pages. But the high number suggests that it is a concept that has gained some repute and traction. And yet, as far as we have been able to discern, there are no publications about LXD that specifically look into its use and utility for the education sector, whether in youth work, schools, or museums and education centres.
Aiming to position itself in that gap, we proposed ourselves to a desk research - check our full report here!