To give you an idea of what disciplines form the foundation of LX design take a look at this graphic:
In essence, LX design is a combination of two domains: design and learning. However, leaving it at that would be over simplified as both design and learning are broad and diverse domains. That’s why each domain is divided in two parts. This way you end up with four quadrants. Examining these quadrants will offer some valuable insights in the origin of LX Design.
The upper right quadrant includes design disciplines that are about human experience. It’s common practice for designers, like user experience designers, to put people at the heart of their designs. This human centered approach enables you to offer an experience that people can relate to and that really works for them. What you design is the actual process people go through. With the options they have, the choices they make, the things that they do and the goals they reach, this is strongly related to what an interaction designer does.
The lower right quadrant is about design disciplines that are focused on creating products that serve a clear purpose. The products we use to facilitate or enhance a learning experience should have both practical and appealing features. Just like an industrial designer designs products that are both functional and beautiful. And like a graphic designer finds creative ways to get a message across in a sophisticated way. Finding the right shape or form for a learning experience is a vital part of designing an effective learning experience.
In the upper left quadrant, you can see more scientific disciplines that are about how people learn. It’s obvious that a LX designer needs to comprehend how human cognition works and how we learn from experience. Combining experiential learning with neuroscientific- and psychological insights is part of the foundation of any good learning experience. There is an interesting link between certain design disciplines, like interaction design, and (cognitive) psychology. As designers they use psychological expertise to understand the people they design for.
The lower left quadrant is where the actual learning takes place. This is where educational professionals, like teachers and trainers, put the theory of learning into practice. Having both a theoretical and practical understanding of learning is essential. It helps you in designing goal oriented learning experiences that work in a real life situations. Having a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t in a specific situation is what educational experts and instructional designers understand.
When you put these four pieces of the puzzle together you start to see the whole picture. LX design takes elements from all of these different disciplines and merges them. This list of disciplines is not necessarily all encompassing. It does illustrate the different domains that are elemental to LX design.