As technology advances, how we learn and receive information continues to evolve. With e-learning platforms on the rise it's important they provide satisfactory experiences for their users. UX designers excel in creating platforms that will offer a satisfying virtual experience. Let's take a look at how UX designers can improve learning management systems (LMS) in education.
LMS stands for Learning Management Systems. These platforms are built for e-learning processes. LMS is present in most educational sectors. College students can now attend class remotely through an LMS. K-12 students also have the option to home-school. Even students who attend school in person need access to a school or district-provided LMS for additional resources.
If you have a background in teaching, your prior experience with LMS could be useful in its design. Learn more.
Pain Points are challenges and frustrations users may experience while using a platform. An LMS with functionality issues can reflect a product pain point for the user. A user not being able to submit their assignment is a good example of a product pain point. Another common issue that can be found in LMS is navigation. This process pain point arises when the user is unable to find or locate their desired destination in a timely manner. This could also be the result of a weak interface design. Users can experience other types of pain points such as financial and support. UX designers are experts in creating the best user experience. We will look at five ways UX designers can improve an LMS and avoid pain points.
1. Targeted Research
Before starting the design process, preliminary research is done to assess the target audience and design purpose. Designers collect both quantitative and qualitative for their projects. The initial research method is generally a user interview, survey or field study. Designers could also conduct a competitor audit. This audit will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of similar platforms. After the data is collected, wireframe and low-fidelity designs are created and then another research phase begins.
2. Empathy for Users
The target audience for an LMS includes the facility, administration, instructor, and students. Some e-learning platforms are for K-12 students, others are for college students. In other instances, the platform is for non-traditional students or ESL students. Designing for an LMS platform requires not only knowledge but empathy for a diverse user population. It’s important for all users to have their needs met. Accessibility is a high priority in an LMS given the diverse type of learners. Some learners may have a disability that prevents them from learning the way others do. Designers will include features that will support that learner. For example, some visually impaired students need their assignments read to them using an audio translation feature.
Learn more about empathy in UX Design.
3. Advanced Prototype & Testing
User studies are conducted after wireframes and low-fidelity prototypes are created. The user study helps determine what is great about the product and what needs correction. Let's take a look at a moderated study for a college prep app. There are twenty high school-aged participants. The designer provides instruction and observes the users. Follow up questions are asked. Designers use feedback to create new insights and high-fidelity prototypes. Once the high-fidelity prototypes are complete, the design goes back into the testing phase. Another user study is conducted. This time an unmoderated study is conducted since the design is near completion. The feedback from this study is then used to finalize the college prep app.
4. Positive UX Components
Earlier we discussed pain points and how it frustrates the user. UX designers remove pain points with four major components; usability, desirability, adaptability, and value. Usability assures that the interface is easy for the user to use and navigate. Desirability will attract users to interact with the platform. Designers use assets, text, colors, shapes, transitions, etc to attract users. For example, an e-learning app for preschool learners will tend to be colorful and have large simple text. Adaptability leaves room for change and improvements. Lastly, designers are determined to add value to the product.
The design has a big impact on how we interact with platforms and each other. UX designers aim to please both client and user. The goal is to make a positive change. For example, a language teaching app can transform lives for the better. LMS relationships with its users can drastically improve with a UX designer's help.
As our society advances, we will rely more on LMS to access information. UX designers make sure these systems are usable and accessible to all users. An empathetic approach is taken to prevent user pain points. If you have a passion for helping others learn, designing LMS could be for you.
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Jamir Williams is an educator, writer and aspiring UX Designer. She likes her avocados in a spicy guacamole.