Business women giving professional development on ux staff training.

The more I learn about UX (User Experience) research, the more I love it and feel the pull to change careers. This got me thinking; I can apply UX principles to training and instructional design and enjoy the best of both worlds. 

UX Defined 

If UX research is new to you, it is the systematic study of target users and their needs to add realistic parameters to design processes. UX researchers center the user’s experience early on in the design process, and researchers use various methods to uncover problems and design opportunities. Good UX research is done by carefully selecting the best methods to obtain the necessary information you need to collect from possible users of your product. UX research categorizes these research design methods in two ways: attitudinal, you listen to what users say—e.g., in interviews, and behavioral – you see what users do through observational studies. Data can be collected both quantitatively and qualitatively. It is also most effective when done at multiple points in the design process. 

Knowing these things about good UX design, how can we use these principles and the design process when developing pieces of training? The first step would be to talk with your users (aka your learners) to determine their needs, goals, and pain points for information or skill acquisition exists. Take time to explore the intersection of the user goals with the organization’s goals. For example, staff might want to feel knowledgeable when customers ask them questions, and you, as an organizational leader, want them to provide good customer service. Your goal focuses on customer interaction, and the users’ goal is not to look ill-informed when customers ask them questions. Still, both goals will help provide good customer service even if the motivations differ.  

What do you do if you have limited funds for UX research? 

If you have limited resources for UX research, you may want to use a UX principle called personas. When selecting target users, you aim to develop personas to represent the typical learners. For example, a recently onboarded staff member, as compared to a veteran staff member, each of these personas may have different training goals and needs. These newly created fictional personas help you to paint in broad strokes when making decisions about your training design. 

What steps should I follow to apply UX to my training development? 

As you design your training, keep returning to the user-centered design concept. A user-centered curriculum focuses on the needs and goals of the learners. It should be designed to make it easy for learners to understand and retain the information. You will also want to develop with transparency in mind. To learn more about creating training for transparency, read my previous blog post

In the final step, you will want to iterate (make changes) based on feedback Take time to listen to feedback from usability testing, iterate, and improve the training program. Usability testing is a research technique that allows researchers to evaluate how easy and intuitive something is to use. This may involve changing the curriculum, improving the user interface, or providing additional support for learners.

We all know when a product needs a better user-centered design. They are the opposite of intuitive to use. It will be clear to your staff if you invest time and resources to ensure user-centered training. Applying UX research principles can help develop these quality training programs. If you want someone to help you with this process, please contact me to schedule an exploration call.

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