Brad Kozlek

User Experience Design And Learning Experiences

2 min read

Horace Dediu calls the IBM/Apple partnership the biggest tech news of 2014:

The recent apps release showed just how transformative this relationship could be. We were witnesses to apps which appeared to be designed for users[!] They were not designed for committees that prepare checklists of requirements.

I feel this is relevant to ed tech as many ed tech products (especially the LMS) were forged in the image of the enterprise information system. Even now, as LMS’s attempt to address issues of usability and mobility, their pedigree as enterprise information systems is proving difficult to overcome. It is refreshing to see IBM, the mother of the enterprise information system investing heavily in user experience.

I am devotee of user experience, so seeing a change in this regard is welcome news to me. There are a great many advantages to products that deliver well designed experiences. In most enterprise IT purchasing or design decisions, user experience is given short thrift. This is no different when higher ed institutions are making decisions on ed tech.

I do want to be clear that I don’t conflate a user experience design completely with designing experiences for learners. There are plenty of overlaps, yes, but I still think there is room for learners to design their own experience, and move away from being locked into templates. So while I think things need to be easy, and clear to use, I don’t think they need to limit the learner. This tension between ease of use and open-ended, flexible, non-templated experiences may be the central tension of learner experience design.