It’s no secret that the education space is evolving. With the continuous integration of technology into the learning process, new roles, such as learning experience design (LXD), have emerged alongside instructional design (ID) to create compelling and engaging learning experiences for students. But what’s the difference between these two fields? Is one type of design more important than the other? In this blog, we’ll dive into the similarities and differences between the two design fields, and why both are important to consider when creating successful learning experiences. While the two might sound similar, essential differences separate these design roles. We’ll explore the differences between learning experience design vs instructional design and look at how each contributes to the overall design of learning experiences. This includes discussing instructional design, learning experience design, their differences, and understanding what role is relevant for specific types of projects.  

What Is Learning Experience Design?

Learning experience design is a new design field focusing on making sure that learners are engaged and motivated during the experience. The term, also known as LXD, is relatively new, especially considering that the term instructional design has existed for decades. But what separates LXD from ID? Still, it’s vital to establish the differences between learning experience design vs instructional design. One noticeable difference is that instructional design is heavily focused on providing learners with the content and materials they need to succeed. In contrast, learning experience design goes beyond that and uses cognitive psychology to create a holistic and engaging learning experience. In other words, instructional design refers to designing instructional materials, while LXD refers to designing entire learning experiences. Some consider ID to be much more content-oriented, while LXD is more context-oriented and human centered. While instructional design might involve designing and delivering both physical and digital learning materials, learning experience design is about ensuring the experience is as engaging as possible. This significant difference may help you decide whether to go for an LXD title or consider instructional design jobs.  

What Is Instructional Design?

Instructional design also has much more history than learning experience design. While LXD was first mentioned as a term in 2007, instructional design has existed as a design field for several decades now. ID first emerged in the 1940s during World War II, with the instructional design field meant to help create the most effective learning materials for thousands of WWII soldiers. Instructional design is about the curriculum/educational materials and their effectiveness. This is much different from LXD because learning experience design is more about the learners, understanding how they learn, and examining their styles, preferences, and motivations. It takes a more holistic view of the entire learning experience rather than focusing on one aspect.  

What Is the Difference Between Learning Experience Design and Instructional Design?

This brings us to address those who may ask what is the difference between an instructional designer and an eLearning developer. This difference is simple: the learning experience designer will build out the actual content of the course, while an instructional designer will focus on designing the course to make sure that it’s functional, intuitive, and user-friendly. Ultimately, instructional design and learning experience design can both be valuable approaches. When used together, they can create powerful organizational growth and development opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about LXD, an LXD certificate might be of interest. It is a certification that you’re a designer who is not only interested in delivering content or creating a user experience, but is focused on making sure that the learning experience is as accessible, empathetic, and engaging as possible. While it may still be relatively new as a design field, many experts believe that LXD will grow more relevant in the coming years and decades.  

How Jackrabbit LX Can Create Customized LXD for Your Organization

Our incredible team of experts has vast experience in creating learning experiences, whether you’re trying to create a brand-new educational initiative or looking to revamp or reinvigorate your corporate training program. We create learning solutions rooted in research, creativity, and empathy. Jackrabbit LX has a proven process when it comes to designing learning experiences, and we’d love to discuss opportunities to create memorable and engaging experiences for your organization. Find out more about how we can create a playbook that can transform your program, course, or initiative. Looking to prototype or test a new program? No problem. More interested in learning how to scale your program without sacrificing quality? We can handle that, as well. Contact us to find out more about how our instructional designers can help you design incredible and memorable learning experiences to meet your desired learning outcomes.

Join Us!


Unlock Exclusive Insights for Leading Learning Organizations

Join our community to receive proven solutions and actionable insights for launching and managing successful learning organizations. Stay ahead with the latest innovations and tools designed to elevate your training and education programs.

Sign up now to start improving your learning operations!