The feedback on the course was good, but not great. The content wasn’t questioned, but the participants said that the instructions were confusing. Later, the design team reviewed the instructions and debated what words could have been chosen to make them clearer.
In the end, it wasn’t the words that had challenged the learners. It was the UX, or the User Experience.
Let’s examine that term. I’ll quote from Wikipedia:
“User experience (UX) is a person's emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system, or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership. Additionally, it includes a person's perceptions of system aspects such as utility, ease of use, and efficiency. User experience may be subjective in nature to the degree that it is about individual perception and thought with respect to a product or system. User experience varies dynamically, constantly modifying over time due to changing usage circumstances. Simplified, user experience is about how a user interacts with, and experiences, a product.”
There’s a lot to unpack from that definition.
When creating an online course (and this can apply to the virtual ILT you create as well as the eLearning modules), you’ll want to approach your design as a learner, not as a developer. You’re aware of all the things that the system can do, but the learner has a different perception of how the course should work. They will predict what they should do next based upon their perception of how things ought to work, and they will apply their beliefs multiple times before they consider yours.
Should your course interface cause your learner to struggle to access information, it will impact learner perception of the course and, ultimately, reduce their ability to learn.
So how did UX impact our pilot? For the second pilot launch, we sat in the back of the room to respond to learner questions as they navigated the course. At a pertinent screen, the learners paused. The Next button had been disabled, and a different prompt sat on the screen to get them to start an activity. Of the fifteen learners present, two selected the prompt quickly. The rest spent time searching, their cursors roving back and forth across the screen until they finally located the prompt.
The feedback at the end of the second pilot was similar to the first. The learners were confused as to what they needed to do.
Except for the two learners who had found and selected the prompt quickly.
In this month's webinar, The Product Approach to Learning - An Introduction to Learner Experience Design, Matthew Daniel will be discussing ways the talent developer needs to consider the learner’s approach to their training experience as we create our training. What will cause the learner to interrupt their learning while they try to figure out what to do? What will frustrate the learner as they are progressing through the module, hindering the transfer of learning?
An informal, no-holds-barred facilitator Matthew Daniel will inspire the passion he has for the Learner Experience in you.
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