The Evolution of eLearning: Comparing Instructional Design and Learning Experience Design

Instructional Design-Technology

As the field of eLearning flourishes, the importance of designing effective learning journeys is gaining prominence. While the traditional method of Instructional Design (ID) remains a staple in the industry, Learning Experience Design (LXD) is fast gaining traction. This article demystifies the distinction between ID and LXD, and discusses how both can be harmoniously combined to create enriching eLearning experiences.

The Cornerstones of Instructional Design

Instructional Design is a time-honoured approach that concentrates on producing educational materials to optimise learning outcomes. Rooted in theories of learning, this systematic technique can be applied across diverse educational contexts including classroom training, online courses, and apprenticeship programmes.

Advantages of using ID principles include:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: By adhering to ID guidelines, high-quality educational content can be generated economically.
  • Efficient Learning: ID ensures that information is easy to absorb and retain, thereby boosting student engagement and learning outcomes.
  • Universal Applicability: Instructional Design can cater to learners of various age groups and educational backgrounds, facilitating targeted skills and knowledge acquisition.

The Essence of Learning Experience Design

Taking a learner-centric approach, Learning Experience Design aims to enrich the overall learning journey by integrating elements of user interface design and contemporary online pedagogical methods. It employs multimedia elements, interactive activities, and customisation to make learning more dynamic and engaging.

Perks of using LXD include:

  • Enhanced Engagement: LXD ensures learners remain absorbed in the content by creating immersive and interactive experiences.
  • Active Learning: By encouraging application of newly acquired knowledge, LXD increases the likelihood of transferring this knowledge to practical, real-world situations.
  • Personalisation: By tailoring learning to individual needs and preferences, LXD amplifies the efficacy and enjoyment of the learning process.

Contrasting ID and LXD

While both ID and LXD aim to enrich the educational experience, their approach differs fundamentally:

  • Design Focus: ID is centred on effective instructional material based on learning theories, whereas LXD aims to offer an engaging and holistic learning experience.
  • User Experience: ID often adopts an educator-led model, whereas LXD prioritises learner experience, from content interaction to ease of access.
  • Inclusivity: While ID aims at knowledge and skill acquisition, LXD takes a more inclusive approach by considering learners’ diverse attributes, such as age, language, and cultural background.

The Best of Both Worlds

Despite their differences, when blended together, ID and LXD offer a powerful means to develop enriching eLearning journeys. For example, integrating ID’s rigorous instructional principles into LXD can facilitate effective and engaging learning experiences.

Concluding Thoughts

Both Instructional Design and Learning Experience Design serve pivotal roles in the modern eLearning landscape. Understanding the unique strengths and nuances of each approach can greatly aid in creating compelling learning programmes that not only meet educational objectives but also provide a memorable learning journey. Whether you’re crafting an online course, a workplace training programme, or educational materials of any kind, blending the tenets of ID and LXD can significantly elevate the quality of the learning experience.


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