The User Experience of Learning Design – Part Four

Our series on the UX of learning design continues today with more great tips on how to make learning more effective. If you’ve not seen the early parts of this series; you can find them under the UX Daily Tab on our website. Now let’s check out today’s tips:

Connect The Learning to the Learner

The urge to entertain runs strongly in many learning developers; I understand why too – people love being entertained and it pretty much guarantees great feedback. The trouble is that the entertainment often comes at the expense of relevance. Gamification exercises for learning, for example, might elect for a fantasy world setting because it sounds cool. The trouble is that when people learn in a fantasy world they don’t make the connection between that learning and their real life. It might be a ton of fun but as a learning experience it will be less valuable than a drier corporate setting for the exercise.


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You want to try and include practical examples of how the learning will be used following the learning experience. In complex programs, for example leadership development, that may mean using a broad range of examples to try and more accurately connect with a range of leaders. The more real-life context that you provide – the easier it is for people to apply learning in the real-world. And that’s the objective of learning experiences; the ability to use the learning to make your job/career/life/finances/etc. better.

Give Valuable Feedback

When it comes to testing; learners need valuable feedback on how they fared. Ideally, feedback shouldn’t be personal; “You suck!” is not what anyone wants to hear – particularly when they do suck at something. Feedback should be constructive and move beyond a tick or a cross on an answer; you might want to refer people back to specific areas of the course to improve their scores or provide an explanation of why the correct answer is correct.



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Feedback also needs to be delivered in line with users expectations. It’s been shown that they younger an audience is – the more they expect regular feedback throughout a task whereas conversely older audiences often expect feedback once at the end of the program. It’s important to tailor feedback based on user preferences if you want people to feel comfortable with that feedback.

This is one area that could benefit from a good chunk of user testing to get right. Getting the language and tone right for your audience is vital across the whole experience but it is particularly important with feedback. People are much more likely to abandon a learning experience that hurts their feelings, even if that was not the intention of the designer, than any other. And you’d be amazed at the cultural variations in acceptable feedback so this is doubly important if you’re going to be rolling out a global or regional release.

Conclusion

We’ll back tomorrow to continue this series. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far? Why not share it with us on our LinkedIn group?

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