Learning and User Experience: Good UX=Good LX

ALALearning Blog Posts, Customer Experience, Design, Training, UX - User Experience

Note: Originally published on ALALearning blog

Steven Bell (who writes often and well on the topic of usability and customer experience over at the Designing Better Libraries blog) recently turned me on to an thought-provoking video of Jesse James Garrett discussing his ideas on User Experience at the Adaptive Path UX Week 2009 Conference.  (Jump to the bottom of this post to see the video)

Garrett’s ideas are simple to understand and elegantly presented.  Since watching the video,  I find myself increasingly seeing the world through UX (user experience) eyes.  It’s occurred to me that Garrett’s ideas on user experience also lay out a simple roadmap for engaging learners. In fact, many teachers and trainers probably already use UX principles effectively, whether they do so consciously or not.


Garrett suggests that there are four primary ways that we can engage users:

  1. Perception (Senses):  Engaging through sight, sound, smell, etc.
  2. Action (body/kinesthetic): Engaging through movement and physical action.
  3. Cognition (mind): Engaging through thought, reflection, logic, imagination.
  4. Emotion (heart): Engaging through emotion, feelings.


You’ll notice that two types of engagement (perception/action) involve direct engagement with the external world, while the other two types (cognition/emotion) are internal engagements.

Reflecting on my own experiences  I realized that the most successful, effective trainings I’ve been involved with, as both a learner and a trainer, offered a balanced engagement in all four areas.

I think there is an opportunity for trainers and teachers to bring their lessons to the next level by consciously designing learning experiences (LX) that engage learners in all four areas.  In other words, I believe that Good UX=Good LX.


One example of what it looks like when it all comes together (i.e. when people are engaged, internally through emotion and cognition, as externally through their actions, and perceptions) is illustrated beautifully in this video, The Fun Theory in which researchers replace regular stairs with “piano key” stairs.  What do you think happens?  Click play to find out…



So how were the people in this video being engaged? I observed:

  1. Perception (sound, music, visual stimulation of piano key stairs)
  2. Action (jumping, stepping, climbing)
  3. Cognition (curiosity, decision-making; choosing between stairs/escalator; processing the cause/effect of walking on the stairs)
  4. Emotion (fun, fun, fun!  Joy of the unexpected.  Joy of seeing others having fun.  Sense of community, and sharing in a novel experience.)

Did you observe any other types of engagement?

Thinking about your own experiences,  can you recall ways in which you’ve successfully engaged your learners or been engaged as a learner? Share your suggestions and experiences in the comments section. And if you find these concepts useful in designing future learning experiences please drop a line and let us know!

(see the complete Garrett video on user experience–well worth a watch–below)

Jesse James Garrett on The State of User Experience, UX Week 2009

UX Week 2009 | Jesse James Garrett | The State Of User Experience from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

As the field of user experience grows and evolves, UX practitioners find themselves having to master new techniques to take on new challenges. Adaptive Path’s Jesse James Garrett takes a look at where user experience has been and where it’s going.