As a school leader, imagine that it’s Saturday morning, and you’re sitting at your neighborhood Starbucks enjoying your first cup of joe after an early morning jog. While you are relaxing and reading the newspaper, you recognize a voice at the table behind you, and when you turn slightly, you realize that it’s a group of five of your parents having a lively conversation. When you listen a little closer, you realize they are talking passionately about the Parent-Teacher conferences that took place two nights ago at your school. What would your parents be saying? How would they describe their “user-experience?”
The concept of user-experience can trace its roots to interactions between man and machine - in industrial design and systems. The term "user-experience" (or UX) has become a more commonly applied term thanks to the work of Don Norman when he was the Vice President of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple. Norman and Jakob Nielsen define user-experience as something that “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” They describe an exemplary user experience as one that: “meets the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother.” IDEO uses the term “touch-point”, and considers “every touch-point as an opportunity to surprise, delight and deliver benefits to users.”
So how might we apply this concept to our schools? Along with things like the Parent-Teacher conferences we were hearing about earlier at Starbucks, each of our schools has their current selection of classes, courses, educators, extracurricular activities, communication tools, services, and facilities that they provide to their school community. Collectively, these different points of contact comprise the ‘user-experience’ for our school community. But in schools, we wouldn’t want to refer to our students, teachers and parents as ‘users’ (so cold!), we would want to refer to them as LEARNERS.
Presto magic: The term “Learner-Experience,” or “LX” is born.
So do we have HIGH LX or LOW LX in our schools? Do we know? Really? Even though our learners are in front of us in our classrooms, in the staff room, and in the parking lot of our schools each day, how often do we ask our Learners who are experiencing our schools about their experiences?
Ouch. We might want to think about that.
Our premise here at PBLC is that your school's performance will never exceed its own LX. If we don’t get to know Learners' current experiences and challenges, then it should come as little surprise to us, as school leaders, to know that we are likely disenfranchising a significant portion of our school community whether we maintain the status quo OR whether we decide to change something. In either case, without knowing if LX is high or low for our Learners, we may inadvertently seal-the-deal on LOW LX and furthermore we may even cause resistance in our schools!
In our model of Learner-Centered Design at PBLC, we help leaders put LX - the experience of the Learner - at the center of everything we do in schools.
Might want to think about that too. Enjoy your coffee.
Want to increase LX at your school? Visit our PBL Consulting Services Page to learn more about our immersive workshop on Learner-Centered Design and other Project-Based Learning professional development workshops.
Start improving LX now with our free Learner-Centered Design resources.