How to Become a Learning Experience Designer
You can’t get a specific graduate degree in Learning Experience Design, as the field is too new. But, once you have a master’s in Instructional Design, you can piece together your own continuing education. At ELM, we seek out what we call T-shaped People, in other words, people who specialize in instructional design, but also have breadth in project management, UX, visual design and are versed in different learning management system platforms.
We recommend for any design student, and particularly for ID students, that they find a design research course or UX class. Even if it’s not directly applied to the degree, it’s an effective way to get some awareness around design thinking. We often use the following resources:
Interaction Design Foundation
This organization offers online learning with courses in Beginning UX, Gamification, Augmented Reality and Design Thinking. Enrollment is ongoing, so you can jump in whenever one begins. Classes are free for members, which is a subscription-based model and ranges from $8 a month for a student to $150 for IDF Design League members, who also get access to a personal coach.
This project-based, free class, called Introduction to Human-Centered Design and sponsored by design firm IDEO, runs intermittently, starting again on May 8, 2018. Students learn not only design thinking but also practice interviewing, researching and prototyping.
The aforementioned design firm, IDEO, offers a Design Thinking Certificate through their online university, IDEO U. All classes are five weeks long, with only the intro class offered on demand and taught by founder David Kelley. They cost $400 per class and are divided into three categories: Design Thinking, Creativity at Work and Creative Leadership. This certificate is an excellent addition to your master’s degree in Instructional Design.
The Stanford University d.school is open to current students, educators, executives, and mid-level designers and is at forefront of design thinking and business, as it has integrated both into a powerful program. Executives are given the chance to attend the Design Thinking Bootcamp, a four-day intensive done in a small group, working on a real-world business challenge. Cost is $12,600 and includes everything but lodging. Classes are offered in March, July, and September each year. Check to see if your organization will cover all or part of the cost.
Where to Find Learning Experience Designer Jobs
The Best Cities: San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York, San Diego
The Best industries: Tech, medical, biotech, pharma, any of the fortune 500 companies.
Freelance/Contract: Learning Experience Designers, with their enhanced skills, engage in more partnerships with internal IDs, because large companies prefer to outsource digital learning pieces. ELM LxDs are often hired to work with internal IDs or consult, for companies looking for a new approach.
H2: Instructional Designer Salaries
They range from entry level $60K-85K
Resources to stay current in the Instructional Design/Learning Experience Design Field
101 Design Methods by Vijay Kumar
The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design by IDEO.org
This is Service Design Doing by Stickdorn & Hormess et. al
Creative Confidence by Tom & David Kelley
The Convivial Tool Box by Sanders & Stappers
We hope that gives you a good start into a newly emerging field of the Learning Experience Designer. Check back for updates, as we will add new information when it arises since the industry is evolving quickly. Also, we are always looking for talent, so please click to send your resume to ELM!