May 02, 2016
Here’s a Secret From Top Tech Companies: Make Your Learning Human-Centric

Here’s a Secret From Top Tech Companies: Make Your Learning Human-Centric

By: Jack Makhlouf

In a perfect world, you’d be able to accurately predict learner behavior based on pure data or even previous experiences. But real life is much messier and less precise, which is why we need to become human-centric. Every learner reacts different to subject matter, and unique viewpoints and past experiences can play a role in how that information is received and stored.

Every learner reacts different to subject matter, and unique viewpoints and past experiences can play a role in how that information is received and stored. A smart tech company will use a prototype initially to create a minimum viable product so they can learn directly from their users what features they like, what features aren’t need, and what features could be added to enhance the overall product.

Traditionally, learning experiences have been crafted in isolation from the end user (aka the learner) and involved a lot of guesswork with zero input from those taking the learning. Adding a human-centric design approach (similar to the process of creating an MVP) to eLearning involves your learners’ input from the beginning, and allows you to anticipate what they need and want versus just taking a guess at it.

If you aren’t designing for humans, you are designing for failure.

Skip the human element, and your user experience could suffer from a lack of engagement and the ever-vital ingredient of real-life effectiveness.

Still, making design more human-centric is about more than introducing relatable scenarios or adding a personalized element: It means taking the time to actively listen to learners and apply their thoughts, successes, and even failures into an improved experience–with heart.

As a creative design agency in the eLearning space, eLearning Mind is one of the first companies in our space to act more like a tech company, having modern UI/UX designers on our team, and incorporating a collaborative mentality in our learning creation process. Our team can help you with a learning project here. 

Here’s what we’ve learned from working with top Fortune 500 companies on their learning initiatives that can help you ensure a human-centric design approach in your future learning projects.

Interview actual learners.

Whether you’ve completed a past project with a certain set of learners or not, you can solicit personal opinions from the very humans that will eventually experience your design. Listen actively to what learners have to say about past experiences and what they expect going forward. Reiterate their viewpoints by using languages such as “So what I’m hearing is…” or “It sounds like you feel…” to ensure that you hear learner opinions loud and clear.

Record onsite observations.

It can be hard to predict the way learners are going to react to a certain program, but you can gain valuable insight from an onsite visit. See how learners are interacting with current learning programs, or how they communicate with one another. You can then build better capabilities (if learners tend to communicate with each other online, a messaging app like Slack might be the perfect addition for microlearning).

Take note of the star learners.

Every organization has a couple of rock star-level learners that learn on their own time, absorb information quickly, and retain data easily. What are those learners doing differently and how can that be applied to your current user experience? Mirror the good behavior to get the best results.

Understand the weak links.

By the same token, organizations always have some learners that lag behind. Maybe they’re disengaged, don’t connect, or don’t retain information, but there are definitely core reasons why. Find out why eLearning missed the mark for those learners and you’ll be able to better fill the gaps left by user experience.

Sometimes, design can be a numbers game: Analyzing data; matching delivery systems with subject matter. But even though there should be an analytical research component, don’t forget that your first concern should always be the learners themselves. When keeping humans at the center of your design, you use differing viewpoints, opinions, and even real-world results to create something truly effective.

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