Why We Embrace LX Design

Published by Carrie O'Donnell
on Mar 21, 2019

In higher education, there is a growing demand for redesigning the higher ed learning experience in a way that understands the learner, drives student retention, and bridges the gap between academia and the workforce.

Here at O’Donnell Learn (ODL), we spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to create great learning experiences.  Over the years, learning experience design, or LX Design, has become our way of life, as we’ve found it makes for much better learning and improved student success.  But what exactly is LX Design as it relates to ODL’s beliefs and practices? For us, LX Design has become so ingrained in our methodology that it has become an important aspect of our DNA. Here’s why…

LX Design takes into account the many aspects of the learner experience, which we have done for decades with our dedication to combining customer insight and research into our design. Focusing on the learner rather than the instructor is a critical distinction between LX Design and traditional instructional design. Instructional design tends to prioritize the instructor and the process of creating instruction, focusing on what instructors do and how they teach, while LX Design speaks not just to the instructor, but to the complete learning experience.

At ODL, we value LX Design because it’s user-centric and ensures the development of the most effective and engaging content.  It may seem obvious, but the critical success factor in all of our work has been to design learning for learners!

All too often, learning is designed around content and to impart subject-matter expertise. Our experience has shown us that designing effective learning requires an understanding of, and devotion to, learner needs. In order for this to be successful, it is necessary to understand the learner. For example, our LX designers seek to fully understand how the experience will be delivered, how it relates to other experiences, and the differences between users (including varying skill levels or learning preferences). Our LX designer also give instructors the tools to help promote engagement, encourage creativity, and empower students to achieve.

ODL and LX Design follow similar tenets to drive the best results. For example, we have a consistent process and templates to guide development of our engagements.  We use a backwards design approach to develop and curate course content aligned with outcomes, correlated to the accreditation standards, and consistent with the defining characteristics of the program. Our designers also use backwards design strategies to produce a user-centric product.

Crafting memorable learning experiences is ODL’s top priority and we accomplish this through LX Design. We believe LX Design is a way to encourage a transformation in higher ed and as a way to improve student success.

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Published By Carrie O'Donnell
on Apr 22, 2021

Earlier in April, Matt Reed proposed the best use of the $12B included in President Biden’s infrastructure legislation for updating infrastructure in community colleges, would be “ways that situate colleges to be more resilient in future economic headwinds.”  For those of you unfamiliar with Reed, not only does he write the “Confessions of a Community College Dean” blog on Inside Higher Ed, nearly 18 years of his career has been in community college leadership positions. Dr. Joshua Kim, director of online programs and strategy at Dartmouth College, fondly refers to him as “Dean Dad.” In fact, Kim penned a response in support of the infrastructure spending recommendations Reed made in his post and offered an additional recommendation of his own: learning designers. 

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Published By Brett Christie, PhD
on Mar 30, 2021

We recently learned there are approximately 20,000 learning designers in the US compared to over 1,500,000 faculty creating online courses. Additionally, a study we conducted last summer with 475 higher ed faculty revealed: Nearly half were simply mirroring their face-to-face instruction, Only 22% were designing their courses differently for online, More than 40% had never taught online or had only taught online for one to two terms. But here’s an even more startling fact: faculty were spending nearly 49 hours prepping an online course for the first time. Converting an existing course for online? Twenty-three hours.