What is a learning experience?

A fundamental question for any (aspiring) learning experience designer is: What exactly is a learning experience?

First, what is an experience?

An experience is any situation you encounter that takes a certain amount of time and that leaves some kind of impression.

See it as anything that happens while you are conscious which is basically all you experience while awake. That’s a broad definition which is very important to learning experience designers, we’ll get back to that in a moment.

Next, what is a learning experience?

A learning experience is any experience you learn from. Simple as that!

It can take place in school, on the job, in a museum, at home, in the outdoors or anywhere you can imagine. It can be in the real world, a virtual environment or a combination of both of them. Whether it is a fully designed learning experience, a completely spontaneous learning experience or somewhere in between, they are all learning experiences. Rodrigo J. Gallego wrote for our blog on "Four Ingredients for a Memorable Learning Experience" with some real life examples to give you an idea of what an experience is.

The point here is to define the term learning experience in a broad way. This enables you to think freely about the types of learning experiences you can design without limiting yourself. Thinking freely gives you the creative freedom you need to design the best possible learning experiences.

Up next: What is learning experience design?