Hi! I’m Learning Experience Design, but you can call me LxD for short. A lot of people ask me where I’m from because I’m kind of the new kid on the block. Some people even have the nerve to ask if I’m just a teacher dressed in sheep’s clothing. To which I say: yes! I’m a teacher, a graphic designer, an information architect, a data analyst, an interface ninja, and more! That’s just the upper fold of my Tinder profile.
But anyway, I get it. There are so many acronyms floating around LinkedIn nowadays that it’s starting to look a lot like alphabet soup. So, I guess the best way to tell you about who I am - or in other words, “what LxD is” - is to tell you the story of how my parents met.
My mom (ID) grew up in a family of proud third-generation instructional designers. All were summa cum laude graduates of the IDOL courses Academy. My mom was raised on a steady diet of educational pedagogy, neuroscience, and social sciences, and she was equipped with the best technological tools in town to build exceptional learning experiences. You know, like the ones they create at IDOL courses.
My dad (UX), on the other hand, came from the backwaters of the early internet. He had such a hard time getting around that he started to ask questions like: Where are we trying to go? Why would someone use this? What can we change? And are there opportunities to be more consistent?
One day, they were introduced by their mutual friend Don Norman at a dinner party.* Yes, that Don Norman. He is the first person to officially hold the title of User Experience Architect, which he had while working at Apple in the early 90’s, and he’s just an all-around design thinking legend. (I mean, who wouldn’t be friends with this guy?)
My mom and dad quickly realized they had a lot in common. In UX country, you focus on the user and the task you want to accomplish. You become deeply involved in the user story to get a clear understanding of how to build the best solution from the ground up.
In ID high society, such as the IDOL Talent Pool, your design process revolves around the learner and the skill you want them to apply. You develop strong learning objectives so that the learning experience achieves the exact outcomes desired.
Both my parents love to start small and repeat their design processes until they get a polished version of their experience. They spend a lot of time researching all manner of things and asking incessant questions to experts and regulars like you and me. They have infinite empathy for their user or learner and they love to run test after test after test on new features.
But they also have their differences. My mom sees things through ID glasses. For her, learning is a collaborative, immersive experience where you can be surrounded by trainers and fellow learners. My dad is more independent and he seems to think he can get the job done without any external support. My mom expects me to master every objective she determines while my dad just wants me to be able use something basic without getting frustrated.
Fortunately, LxD (that’s me) is the best of both worlds. I’m all about bringing less friction and more joy to any experience. I can work in diverse contexts because there are so many different ways to deliver learning nowadays and I can help people make meaningful changes while staying motivated in the process. To do this, I pay close attention to usefulness, usability, desirability, and engagement, and I rely on design thinking principles.
My parents say I am the future. Thanks to my dad and his UX street smarts, I know how to create a product with superior visual design and interaction details. And thanks to my mom and her pedigree ID, I can develop the directions, manuals, and other instructional materials that will help the learner understand and master that product. I’d say that’s a pretty big toolbox!
Written by: Ashley Dresser
Ashley Dresser is a bilingual instructional designer and e-learning developer who thinks everything in life is just one big romance. She loves to collect creation stories from different indigenous cultures as the earliest examples of how to simplify a complex thing. Check out her portfolio and say hello on LinkedIn!