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The Learning Experience Designerr
We asked some of our seasoned Learning Experience Designers to share their insights and answer some questions on their role and the best ways to get into this exciting career.
What is a Learning Experience Designer?
Learning Experience Designers (LEDs) apply their understanding of digital offerings in creating engaging, memorable learning experiences for a range of target audiences, and reformulate client’s content into a learning solution that addresses the needs of the target audience and the business.
What does an LED do?
LEDs transform subject-specific content to suit the target audience and the chosen asset-type in order to provide learners with a learning path that is both engaging and memorable.
An LED follows what is called the ADDIE development process – analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation.
Think of ADDIE as different stops along the project’s overall journey. In particular, the LED will mostly focus on analysis and design, with roles to play in development, implementation and evaluation too.
A basic description of how this works would be as follows:
First, a client comes to TTRO with an objective, such as needing to train their team on how to use new software. After the client brief is established by our consultants, we enter the analysis phase with the client, going through their content and establishing the best learning objectives for the project alongside a subject matter expert, or SME, who is sometimes the client or sometimes someone the client brings on board.
Once this is signed off and we have content to use for learning purposes, we enter the design phase, where the LED will take the content and plan it out in a document called a storyboard. Depending on the type of learning asset we are developing, the LED will create a storyboard, where voice-over, on-screen interactions, visuals, and text come together to create the engaging learning experience. This document is signed off and handed over to a Digital Designer, who brings it to life.
Overview of tasks and deliverables
Identify the target audience, training needs and desired outcomes.
Communicate with external stakeholders to gain insights and keep them informed on project developments
Analyse curricula and content to identify the best methods for achieving the desired performance and learning objectives.
Collaborate with internal stakeholders to develop learning solutions.
Design storyboards for engaging learning materials, including videos, simulations, games, just-in-time training, quizzes, etc.
Provide innovative and instructionally sound solutions to ensure effective and engaging learning.
Employ instructional design principles to script, storyboard and deploy effective blended learning solutions.
Perform quality assurance at key stages during the design and development process.
Evaluate the efficiency of current designs to ensure continuous improvement.
Why become an LED?
If you are looking for an opportunity to show off your combination of logical reasoning and creativity, while having a meaningful impact on others’ lives, then LED might be the right career for you. You might enjoy being an LED if you’re passionate about teaching and learning, love expressing yourself creatively, and see challenges as puzzles that need to be solved through creativity and strategic thinking. Job satisfaction often comes from affecting learners’ lives in a positive way through their development and improvement and seeing your ideas come to life.
Is being an LED right for you?
This position is suited to you if you:
Have passion for learning.
Want to open doors for others by making learning more accessible.
Enjoy challenging projects.
Want to gain exposure to a variety of asset types and approaches.
To become an LED you should be able to:
Work with SMEs to get the best out of their content.
Write inspiring, engaging voice-over and on-screen text.
Have an eye for visuals and planning out creative solutions – even if it’s using blocks and stick figures.
Feel comfortable collaborating with different people and be able to hand over your work with confidence.
Be confident in your ability to check, double check, and triple check your work.
Build great relationships with your clients and teammates.
- Understanding of how people learn.
- Interest in the interaction between digital media and learning.
- Ability to empathise with different learners.
- Visual thinker.
- Experience with online learning tools and platforms.
What are Hiring Managers looking For?
If you can demonstrate the skills and attitudes mentioned below, you’re in with a shot at landing a learning experience designer role.
- Research skills.
- Strong writing abilities in general.
- Client-relationship management.
- Review and editing.
- Understanding of basic design principles
- Andragogical and Pedagogicial learning principles
- Communication skills.
- Critical thinking.
- Time management.
- Ability to work under pressure.
How do I become an LED?
Many people who work in e-learning do so without having a background in this specific field. If you are interested in becoming an LED, the best course of action is to build a network with others in the field and keep an eye out for job ads and useful resources that will guide you in what you can do to make yourself a potential candidate for this position.
A number of online course providers are offering courses on learning experience design. However, many organisations hire candidates with related experience, such as a background in language, education or a field related to the subject matter that the position relates to.
Any of these qualifications would help on your path to becoming an LED:
Human resources (with a focus on learning and development).
These qualifications, along with experience in the e-learning field, is what it takes to become an LED.
Related experience: education, training, writing or research based.
As an LED, it helps to have a good understanding of basic software like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, as these are the most commonly used tools when it comes to creating storyboards and other LED-related documents.
Although LEDs often don’t develop assets themselves, a basic understanding of what the following (or similar) software and platforms can do is advantageous:
Articulate Storyline / Adobe Captivate.
Learning management systems (like Moodle or Canvas).
Adobe Creative Suite.
What do you need in your portfolio?
Having a portfolio is a great way to show potential hiring managers what you can do. The best items to include are storyboards for the most common asset types –videos, animation, infographics and interactive e-learning modules; perhaps even a storyboard for a more challenging asset type – like an AR/VR experience, game, or interactive video. Samples of your analysis work like programme frameworks or curricula would also be great to include. Provide examples of projects (short descriptions along with what your role was on the project) and short personal recommendations written by previous managers/supervisors including a bit about your skillset (your particular areas of interest) and a little about what it’s like to work with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a certificate or master’s degree?
It helps, but it isn’t necessarily the measure of whether you’ll be a great LED or not. Most organisations prefer candidates who hold an Honour’s degree – although this does differ depending on the nature of the role. You can start as an intern after your studies. This job really requires you to operate at a high level of thinking. There are no small tasks, so as an intern, the expectation will still be high.
How can you get an LED job with no experience?
Many organisations offer in-house training since they recognise the need for graduates to obtain job experience in the field once they complete their studies. However, it might even be worth completing a certificate or diploma in instructional or learning experience design and contacting organisations to hear whether they would consider someone without job experience for a junior position. Do some desktop research, learn more about the role, ask to see some of our projects, and show us what you would have done differently with a developed solution.
Is Learning Experience Design a good career?
It is an excellent career. It gives you a high level of job satisfaction. You can be as creative as possible and bring in ideas from all other areas of life, into a learning solution. An increasing number of organisations and individuals are recognising the value of shifting to, or incorporating, e-learning as a means of learning about specific topics or developing certain skills. This means that the industry will most likely continue to grow in the coming years.
What makes someone a great LED?
Someone who has a combination of analytical and creative thinking skills. A person who loves learning. Being able to turn complex or stale learning material into an engaging experience for the learner requires a certain level of creativity, empathy and critical thinking. While these are only some of the characteristics that make someone a good LED, these, combined with a passion for teaching and learning, represent a good foundation.
What are the best tools to learn for an LED?
Some organisations make use of LEDs to not only design, but also develop, courses. If you plan on applying for such a position, then learning to use certain authoring tools and learning management systems will be to your advantage. Having knowledge of these is useful even when you are only storyboarding for these. A lot of work is done in PowerPoint.
Is it hard to become an LED?
Being a good LED requires both a natural inclination and certain technical knowledge. Depending on the organisation that you start at, this differs. Ideally, if you are able to start in a role that involves simple tasks, you should be able to gradually expand your skills and then improve on these. It takes about two years to start feeling comfortable in the role. There is a lot to learn and master.
What is the best part about your role?
Being an LED means that you are not only constantly learning about the profession and the tasks involved in learning experience design, but you are also constantly exposed to new course topics – allowing you to learn about things you might never otherwise have explored. Using creativity and insight to help people through learning, and seeing how awesome ideas turn out in the final developed solutions.