Learner experience mapping or LEM is a design philosophy that provides learners with personalized learning experiences by mapping the learner’s learning path by putting oneself in the learner’s shoes and designing learning for them from their own perspective. LEM works nicely for modern learners because it puts the control in the hands of the learner’s themselves, which is what they want. In this article, we’ll discuss why eLearning need to learn LEM.
Learning and development is becoming increasingly learner-centric, due to the fact that modern individuals have now gotten used to be treated like consumers. They want value in the learning and development process as well as rich, personalized experiences in learning. Learner experience mapping or LEM is a design philosophy that provides learners with personalized learning experiences by mapping the learner’s learning path by putting oneself in the learner’s shoes and designing learning for them from their own perspective. LEM works nicely for modern learners because it puts the control in the hands of the learner’s themselves, which is what they want.
A Learning Experience Map is, as its name suggests, is a visual representation of things such as the job an employee/learner needs to perform; the information, knowledge, people and company resources employees/learners need to succeed in that job; the learner’s preferences – how they like to learn; the employee/learner’s professional and personal goals; and finally any additional learning resources they would like to have to advance their professional or personal goals. Designing a Learning Experience Map personalizes learning like no other eLearning approach, which is why eLearning designers need to learn LEM. But to learn LEM, they need to understand what its components are. Let us have a look at those.
- Learner Profile
This is the most important building block or component of a learner experience map. A learner profile consists of a learner’s identity, their roles, goals as well as aspirations. Once they’ve got all of that down, eLearning designers then need to figure out what learning opportunities they need to provide the learners with, in order to fulfill their personal and professional goals as well as aspirations. It also includes a learner’s learning style, i.e what mode of learning are they most comfortable with – visual, aural, textual, kinesthetic or a mixture of two or more modes.
- Learning Paths
A learner’s learning path is dependent upon their professional goals and aspirations. For example, say a sales executive someday wishes to be the vice-president of sales. eLearning designers will have to chart out a learning path for that sales executive in a way that takes the executive through stages of learning, in which they learn and evolve skills and knowledge to move from being a sales executive to the assistant sales manager, then the sales manager, and finally the vice-president of sales.
- Barriers In Learning
Every learner has some weaknesses which act as barriers in their learning progress. eLearning designers need to assess those weaknesses, and then find ways to remove those barriers. For example, say a customer service executive is unable to get a long overdue promotion due to the fact that they are unable to memorize the company’s product line, features and prices. Providing them with proper product training will help remove this barrier and send them on their way to that promotion.
eLearning designers then need to set up realistic timelines on how their personalized eLearning design will help the employees/learners evolve to a better stage, and how long will it take for them to reach their final goal. Each evolution to a higher stage has to be supplemented with appropriate learning opportunities and resources in order to stick to the timeline, and all of it has to be charted out and planned.
- Creating The Learning Experience Map
How they represent the Learning Experience Map is up to the eLearning designer. It could be a simple text document having all the components mentioned above, or it could be a table, a graph, a narrative or a highly-visual graphic model that even the learners themselves can have a look at to understand it better and track where they are at any given point of time.
Almost every industry in the world is obsessing over providing their customers with as amazing a user-experience (UX) as they can. It’s high time that the L&D (learning and development) industry too, starts treating their learners as consumers, and design each of their learning approaches keeping the learner in the centre. When done correctly, such a learning approach will help the employees/learners not only deliver high performance and better business results but sustain them.