In the hyper-digital backdrop of today, Interface Design for learning can be an industry on its own. And rightly so.
Interface and UX can make or break any learning platform simply because they can make all the difference to an online learner. Learner-centric Design comes with a clear interface, simplified navigation, the right CTAs, user-friendly UI, and faster loading times.
A great user experience ensures that the learner gets all of this and more. It amalgamates various design elements such as speed, interactivity, ease of use, consistency throughout the platform, simplicity in information architecture (like grouping similar items to make them easier to find), and other factors. It can even change how you perceive a brand and its products.
Understanding Learning-centric Design
Learner-centric design is an approach to designing educational technologies and platforms that puts the learner at the centre of the process. This takes into account the individual needs of the learner, as well as their current level of knowledge and skills. It also considers how the learner interacts with the technology or platform. This makes it a helpful framework in educational technology, primarily when many learners use them.
One thing that sets it apart from other approaches to building educational technology is its emphasis on the fact that learners come in all shapes and sizes. They have different backgrounds, different cultures, and different abilities. This means that it is vital to be mindful of these differences when building technology and not assume that all learners will learn the same way.
How Can UX Impact Remote Learning?
In most cases, User Experience in remote learning is influenced by many factors such as speed, design, interactivity and other things. But how does UX itself impact that remote learning process?
The concept of UX is to make sure that there is one unified term for all the factors that influence the user experience. It includes design, interactivity, speed, or even brand recognition. All of these are important when it comes to remote learning.
With that being said, here’s how UX can make or break a remote learning experience:
1. UX can Lead to Better Retention for Learners
Visuals can improve learning by up to 400%. Thus, using icons, charts, diagrams, interactive videos, and more in the learning process will lead to better outcomes for learners as they will be able to retain the information longer. Armed with better comprehension, learners can apply the information and knowledge easier than before.
Example: A great example of how UX can impact remote learning is Duolingo. The popular language-learning platform has seen tremendous success because of its user interface, leading to easy information retention when learning a new language. In addition, the interface helps learners learn faster, mainly because they can understand the visual cues that the platform delivers.
2. UX Can Make the Learning Experience Fun
If learners feel that the remote learning experience is fun, engaging, and interactive, they will retain more knowledge and enjoy their learning process more. Thus, you can expect them to study for more extended periods, gather more knowledge and have a better attitude toward the subject matter.
Remote learning platforms that heavily use gamification, quizzes, or even interactive tutorials can lead to better learning outcomes for learners.
Example: Any online gamification platform that teaches people something new is an excellent example of what UX can do when applied to remote learning. They make the process fun, which makes the learners enjoy more and keep engaging with the platform, leading to fewer dropoffs or churn.
3. UX Can Make Learning More Accessible
The easier it is for learners to navigate the learning interfaces, the more accessible their knowledge is. Thus, learners with disabilities or who are not native speakers of the language used in remote learning platforms can find it challenging to use them. However, designers can help them overcome these barriers and improve their user experience significantly with the right UX choices.
Example: Most popular edtech platforms have standardized features that users can use across devices and platforms. This makes it easier for people to access remote learning material and information across devices and platforms. Also, the fact that these platforms have many similar features facilitates access to remote learning for all kinds of people.
4. UX Can Boost the Speed of Learning
Improving the user interface can help to improve speed, as well as general comprehension by learners. When the user interface is intuitive and easy to use, navigations can be faster, and thus users can learn more information in less time.
This also helps when it comes to content. For example, if a remote learning platform has faster load times from downloading material to quizzes, learners can spend more time learning and less waiting for things to load.
Example: The learning process for coding is often a slow one, with a lot of information to digest. Codecademy has a clean and intuitive user interface that makes the process faster, allowing people to learn code quicker and more efficiently.
5. UX Can Create Better Relationships Between Learners and Educators
If a learning platform is intuitive, easy to use, and pleasant to look at, then there will be more human interaction among community members, which can viably lead to better relationships and, eventually, more learning.
Example: One of the most prominent examples of how UX can impact remote learning is Youtube. The video hosting platform has an intuitive and fast interface that allows users to share videos and learn from each other easily. This also impacts the social aspect of learning as people can discuss what they’ve learned with other community members or share their doubts via the comment section.
Best UX Practices to Create a Learner-friendly platform
When it comes to improving the UX of remote learning platforms, there are three primary best practices that you can employ:
1. Create Fewer Distractions and More Value
If your users sign up for a specific course or program on your platform, the chances are that they like the subject matter. And since it is online, they need to be more invested in the learning process to reap the maximum benefits. Thus, distracting them with too many animations or sounds unrelated to the subject matter will only make them disengage with the content and lead to poorer learning outcomes.
2. Make Onboarding Processes as Easy and Short as Possible
Onboarding processes should be straightforward and concise so that the user doesn’t get overwhelmed. Instead, they must understand what they can accomplish on your platform in a short period. The more time you take to onboard users, the less likely that they will actually use the platform.
3. Don’t Forget the Mobile Factor
We all live in a world where you can be reached at any time, anywhere. Hence, your platform needs to exist everywhere. While designing for different devices and platforms is essential, ensuring that users can access content via mobile apps should be one of the top priorities.
But it is even more important to keep the UX of your mobile and desktop platforms in sync. An excellent approach to achieve this is via responsive web design. This means that your website will be mobile-friendly, and the UI elements will scale depending on what device it’s being accessed from.
This is important for remote learning platforms because you never know where or when your users will access the content. Giving them flexibility through smart UX design choices such as responsive web design will make them more productive and willing to learn.
Designing for remote learning is a complex process. It requires more than just an intuitive and aesthetically-pleasing interface. It needs to consider the different needs of the learners and how they will interact with the platform.
Since remote learning is a relatively new concept, most platforms focus on improving UX. And, in most cases, these improved UXs lead to better social interactions and more efficient learning outcomes.
The best approach is to meet the needs of your target audience and make them productive. This will make them more willing to engage with your platform and learn new things, improving the overall learning process.