Category Archives: Design With the Learner In Mind

Three Design Principles

Design With the Learner In Mind  DESIGN an experience  DESIGN within constraints

If you would like to get a feel for my BIG PICTURE view of design and learning, check out these three basic design principles. Most of the topics discussed in this blog will relate to one of these three principles.


Design With the Learner In Mind

Design With the Learner In Mind

Design. Learning. It’s not easy to put these two concepts together successfully. There are stakeholders who want to see checked boxes. There is a load of sometimes dry content that needs to be included in the course. But when pen hits paper and mouse hits pad, it is learning, and the learner, we are most concerned with. Right?

“Design with the learner in mind.” This phrase is constantly playing in my head as I brainstorm, write, sketch and map out the learning experience. In my case, it is almost always an eLearning experience.

Every design choice has one goal: to enhance learning. From the level of language, to the case scenarios, to the color choices.

How well do you know your learners? What makes them tick–or click, as the case may be? The questions below (from Nancy Duarte’s “Resonate“) may help you identify just how well you know your learners.

  • What is likable about them?
  • How do they spend their free time and money?
  • How do they give and receive respect?
  • What is their tolerance level for change?
  • How far out of their comfort zone are you asking them to go?
  • What keeps them up at night? What fears are valid and which should be dispelled?
  • What will stop them from adopting or acting on your message?
  • What’s in it for them if they do act upon your message?
  • What is it like to do their job/be in their building?
  • What are their training conditions?
  • How will your message help influence their sphere of influence, such as direct reports, co-workers?

Develop a picture of your learners. Keep that picture in your head as you design. If you don’t know your learners, and you don’t have direct access to them, find someone who does and ask them to answer these questions. You will be amazed by how relevant your design becomes and by how inspired you will be when it comes time to make design choices.