Designing Learning Experiences

International Finance Corporation - World Bank Group
International Finance Corporation - World Bank Group
February 15, 2022
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


Designing Learning Experiences can range from creating a 15-minute self-paced e-learning tutorial on using a new software application to setting up a social platform for employees to learn from each other or creating instructor-led training delivered in a classroom or even in a field. Content can range from highly technical skills to skills like project management or sales, “softer” skills like communication, and “basic” skills like financial literacy.

Designing Learning Experiences is also referred to as “instructional design,” “training design and development,” or “course development.” Traditionally, people who design learning experiences have been referred to as “instructional designers” or business learning specialists.

Competent design of learning experiences increases the likelihood that you:

  • Align learning objectives with desired performance outcomes and business measures.
  • Include “need to know” content instead of “nice to know.”
  • Present content clearly and concisely.
  • Provide frequent and effective practice opportunities.
  • Create materials that support learning.
  • Create tools and methods to measure the participants’ new skills and knowledge.
  • Create tools and methods to measure how much learning participants use in the “real world.”
  • Design learning experiences that enable your facilitators and participants to succeed.
  • Prepare for delivery.

When Designing Learning Experiences for emerging markets, culture, economics, safety concerns, personal circumstances, educational levels, and household obligations add to the challenge of this task. When you address these challenges directly, there is greater likelihood of producing a pragmatic course from which participants can learn efficiently and effectively. As you prepare to design, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can you minimize delivery costs?
  • What approaches or support may work best for participants with lower literacy or education levels?
  • How should facilitators handle contentious topics to ensure the content and delivery are compatible with cultural norms?
  • What activities can you incorporate or adapt to reinforce the participants’ persistence, selfesteem, and confidence?
  • How should you organize the program schedule and logistics to accommodate household obligations and caregiving responsibilities?
  • What extra security precautions do facilitators need to provide to ensure participants’ safety?

Designing Learning Experiences starts with a clear understanding of the business measures and desired performance outcomes. The needs assessment provides this information. All content and activities in the learning experience should align directly with achieving these outcomes and measures.


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