Learning Strategy

The Easy 4-Step Learning Experience Design Playbook

This is a classic mistake with digital courses.

Someone asked why my course only takes about 3 hours to speed through.

They wanted more. It was a crash course, FYI.

This is my answer 👇


  1. 300 lessons
  2. 1000 hours of video
  3. 200 PDF documents

Doesn’t make your digital experience more valuable.

The goal is always to get a user to their goal in the quickest time possible.

If there are two learning experiences with the same outcome but one is 2 hrs vs 40 hrs. Guess what I’m buying?

Good design is about looking through a user’s eyes.

We too often fall prey to the more must be better fallacy. In most scenarios, it is not. Think about your own consumption methods, how many times have you:

  • Not finished that course
  • Not finished that book
  • Fallen asleep halfway through that bloated project update email

We tend to make this more complex than they should be.

That’s my experience after 15 years in the industry. I’ve been part of many experiences which would have been more useful as a 5-minute article.

This is why thoughtful design is such an important element of most work.

It’s not L&D exclusive. Anyone who builds products will benefit from more thoughtful design.

The thoughtful design playbook

1/ Understand the user’s goals and objectives

If you don’t know this, you’re in trouble.

Use research techniques to identify their needs, pain points, and desired outcomes. You cannot build the best solution to solve the problem without this. This can be done through techniques such as user interviews and surveys.

Get as close to the problem as possible.

  1. What do the users know about it today?
  2. What are their motivations for solving it?
  3. Do they even care about it?

The more you know the better you can help.

2/ Simplify complex concepts and information

A thoughtful design should aim to simplify complex concepts and information.

I always see any L&D operator’s role as a context guide. You can be most effective when providing context on a complicated subject. The ability to lift the veil and say “Hey, this is what it means” is your superpower.

Once again, speaking to your audience helps here.

Knowing your user’s current knowledge and motivations on the subject will inform your design. It has to, otherwise, you end up building something that no one wants.

3/ Prioritise usability and ease of navigation

This is ‘THE’ crucial aspect of thoughtful design.

It doesn’t matter if you built the best solution our world has seen. If it’s drowned in a poor user interface and experience, it’s worthless. I know this sounds harsh.

Yet, I see this happen every day.

It literally happened an hour before I typed these words. I enjoy learning from smart people, but even they fall victim to poor design. I had to stop reading a newsletter this morning, even though I knew the content was fantastic.

It was horribly formatted.

My eyes were overwhelmed with huge blocks of text with never-ending paragraphs.

I kept scrolling and they kept coming. It doesn’t matter how great the content is if I can’t clearly and easily consume it. Users should be able to effortlessly navigate through an interface and find the information they need.

You must order content in a logical and intuitive manner

Get smart. Use clear labels and headings, and provide search and filtering options. Make it easy for users to unlock the value your design provides.

4/ Test and iterate based on feedback

Experiment, test and improve – always.

The best way to do this is through your users. Build minimum viable products (MVPs) for your audience to play with. Then talk to them.

Discover what worked, what didn’t and you might even uncover things you never thought of before.

Build feedback reflections into your design process.

It’s really a no-brainer if you want to build solutions that solve problems and will give people value.

Final thoughts

In sum, challenge yourself on what is useful, why is it useful and how can you share this in the simplest possible way.

More content doesn’t equal more value.

It often leads to bloat, poor experiences and no performance outcome.

Be smart, and design with a human mind.

If you want to take that crash course on working smarter with AI. I’d love to have you onboard.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

You can join me every Tuesday morning for more tools, templates and insights for the modern L&D pro in my weekly newsletter.

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