Learning experience design (LXD) is an emerging and interdisciplinary field that uses learning experience design principles to design and improve learning experiences. The field draws from psychology, educational theory, instructional design, cognitive psychology, user experience design, and more.

How do learning experience designers actually design learning experiences, and what principles do they follow? We’ll examine these principles and different learning experiences to determine how LX designers create engaging, memorable, and captivating learning experiences. 

What Are the Main Principles of Designing a Learning Experience?

There are many different principles of learning theory, but Jackrabbit LX abides by specific LXD principles that help us deliver the best possible results for our clients. Our first principle is that we use research to meet learners where they are and understand their immediate needs, motivations, and big-picture aspirations. 

It’s also incredibly important for learners to understand the importance of the learning experience. Learners will disengage if they feel they are acquiring skills or knowledge irrelevant to improving their career or personal life. To combat this, we use tools, frameworks, and guides to help them use what they’ve learned in a real-world context. 

With this context, learners will feel like they are solving problems that will help lead to real-world success. Rather than telling learners their learning journey is important, they must understand why and how it is important.

We also believe in keeping the learning experience as “active” as possible. A recent Harvard study showed that learners retain more information when actively participating in their learning rather than listening to a lecture. In other words, it’s better to design a learning experience where learners share and discuss knowledge.

Our LXD experts also create learning experiences where learners get feedback to improve their mindset, and also get personalized feedback as much as possible. This feedback allows for opportunities for self-reflection that can help contextualize the learning experience and understand their progress. Feedback is also critical for sparking intrinsic motivation.

Another critical learning experience design principle is that we create a productive tension within the learning experience. What exactly does this mean? The goal here is for our LX designers to create a learning experience within a “Goldilocks zone,” so that it isn’t too easy that it is ineffective and isn’t too difficult that it demotivates and discourages learners. We also use storytelling elements to build narrative tension that can help learners get more motivated. 

While there are many different kinds of basic principles of learning and their implications, these principles are all relevant to the LXD field as a whole. 

What Are the Three Types of Learning Experiences?

While there are many different ways to learn, several key learning experience design examples exist. Some types of learning experiences include individual learning, group learning, and blended learning. A blended learning experience consists of both individual learning and group learning.

Individual learning might include a student who self-studies using online modules or video lectures, while group learning could look like group discussions and debates where learners discuss topics. A blended learning experience would include both of these experiences, and evidence suggests that they are more engaging. 59% of teachers report that students were more motivated to learn in a blended learning environment. 

An example of activity experience design is a VR environment where learners are engaged and get hands-on knowledge instead of learning in a more passive way. Professionals with a learning experience design certificate often understand the importance of learning new tools and technologies to design the best learning experiences possible. Since these designers can work with nonprofits, government agencies, and corporations, a learning experience design job description can vary significantly in terms of scope. 

However, a learning experience is any experience where something can be learned. This doesn’t just include textbooks, webinars, and lectures – it can also include conversations, debates, and apprenticeships. Some of these experiences will be more experiential and collaborative than others, but they can all be considered learning experiences.

Those who are new to the field may not understand the main difference between learning experience design vs instructional design. While instructional design focuses more on instructions and content, learning experience design focuses on the learners, whether they’re engaged, and how they are learning and feeling.

What Are the Elements of a Learning Experience?

There are many different elements to individual learning experiences, but there are several common elements that all learning experiences designers must consider. 

Whether you are designing learning experiences for students or employees, the first element is that LX designers must understand the learner. This might take extensive research, including interviews with learners to find out more about their preferences, previous experiences, goals, and motivations. Since not every learner learns the same way, understanding the variety of human need is critical to designing and developing an effective learning experience

This might also involve discovering more about their learners’ desired outcomes, future aspirations, or past experiences to help inform the learning experience. LX designers often create user personas to help them create the most engaging content possible.

Another element is understanding the sensory experience of learners. LXD professionals have to consider how the content is presented, including the visual design of the experience, the “mood” it creates, or the tone of the content. 

A critical LXD element is also making sure that the content is enjoyable and engaging. Even if the learning program is useful and functional, it can still fall short if learners are not engaging with it and having fun along the way. Learning experience designers are constantly experimenting to ensure that the content creates a positive emotional connection with learners and is user-friendly and engaging. 

An engaging learning experience will incorporate different multimedia, including pictures, videos, and colors to help create a journey where learners stay engaged. According to the U.S. Department of Education, incorporating multimedia into learning experiences can increase students’ academic success. In some cases, this may even involve incorporating virtual reality and augmented reality to help improve learning experiences. 

Another element of LXD is engagement and motivation. An LX designer should work towards making sure the experience is as interactive and immersive as possible, which may mean using specific technologies or tools. An example of activity experience design might be a group discussion to help students or employees engage, share knowledge, or debate specific topics. Part of fostering motivation also includes finding the right balance between difficulty and easiness. This challenging balance can help increase motivation for success.  

LXD is also focused on making sure that the learning experience is goal-oriented so that learners can achieve specific outcomes. These goals should be flexible and incremental, and emphasize the fact that the learning process is an ongoing one. In keeping with this thinking, there should be ample opportunities for feedback and reflection within the learning environment. 

Since LXD focuses on the learner, context is also extremely important in the field. Instead of just learning, LX designers want to make sure that learners understand WHY they are learning these skills or knowledge, whether pursuing a specific career path, meeting a sales quota, or improving safety on job sites. When learners understand this context, they have more autonomy over their education. 

It’s also incredibly important for LX designers to understand the importance of assessment and feedback. Learning experiences can only improve once LXD professionals understand the success of the experience, what can be better, and determine relevant metrics. Whether the learning experience has learning goals or business goals in mind, these goals and KPIs must be established. 

What Are the Five Principles of Selecting a Learning Experience?

When discussing the principles of learning experience in education, we must remember some basic learning experience design principles.

Understand the Learner

The first principle is straightforward – understand the learner as much as possible. This will require significant research, and it will help LX designers meet learners “where they are,” and help ensure that the learning experience is as accessible and useful as possible. 

Make Learning Applicable

The second of these basic principles of learning and their implications is to make learning as immediately applicable as possible. Learners are engaged and motivated when they understand the context of the skills and knowledge they are acquiring, and it should resonate with them whether they use them in their personal life, their career, or otherwise understand how it is relevant to their goals and aspirations.

Encourage Active Learning

The third principle of these principles of learning in psychology is to keep the experience active. What does this mean? It means that LX designers should make sure learners are actively participating, and “leaning in” to their learning rather than “leaning back” and passively learning. They should also be allowed to reflect on what they’ve learned and make choices about how they’re learning.

Provide Personalized Feedback

The fourth principle is to provide highly-varied, personalized feedback (if possible) to help the learner understand their progress. Designers should always be thinking about how the learner can offer feedback, since this feedback can help improve future learning experiences. 

Make The Difficulty Just Right

The fifth principle focuses on ensuring the learning experience is neither “too easy” or “too hard.” This kind of tension will inspire the learner to be challenged, without ever becoming exhausted or exasperated at the process.

While there are many different principles of learning experience, these guiding principles can help LX designers create the most impactful learning experience possible. The basic principles of learning and their implications can inform designers whether they work at universities, government agencies, nonprofits, or corporations. 

LX designers understand the importance of principles in learning and the principles of learning in psychology. Thanks to this holistic approach, LXD professionals must have an interdisciplinary understanding of education in general.

How Jackrabbit LX Can Help

Jackrabbit LX is home to experts that can design, develop, and tailor your learning experiences for maximum success. We personalize learning experiences to fit your organizational KPIs, and use a unique 5-step process to ensure that your learning experience is human-centered, research-based, and goal-oriented. 

Our professionals can help you execute learning experiences whether you’re trying to improve sales, reach a wider audience, or train your employees to keep them safe. We examine your content, understand gaps, select the right tools, and work on creating learning experiences that aren’t just effective, but also enjoyable and relevant.

We’ve created incredible learning experiences for notable clients like Vital Strategies, Medtronic, and Floodlamp Biotechnologies. Contact us to learn more about how Jackrabbit LX can clarify and execute your specific learning experience design goals.

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