SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Our blog provides the best practices, tips, and inspiration for corporate training, instructional design, eLearning and mLearning.

All Posts

Learner Experience Mapping: Building Personalized “Learner-centric” Experiences

The term “Experience Mapping” isn’t a new one – it’s been around for a long time in retail sales settings. For instance, brick-and-mortar retailers have for years focused on providing their customers the best “experience” possible during shopping, by focusing on aspects such as product availability, price competitiveness, a variety of selection, “airiness” and openness of their shop floors, cleanliness, etc. 

More recently, websites have been focusing on User Experience design (UX) to deliver valuable content to their users, based on some factors including: Usefulness, Credibility, Desirability, Usability, Accessibility and “Findability.”

Learner Experience Mapping (LEM) has a similar philosophy, except that it focuses on delivering value in the learning process. Its objective is simple: View learning opportunities and experiences from the lens of those who are consuming the content.

The key to delivering value to consumers, be they online shoppers, students or employees, is to deliver rich, personalized experiences as opposed to just providing a generic product or service.

In the case of customer experiences, retailers map customer lifecycles from Need to Purchase, and from Use to Post sale support. Then, they tailor their products and services based on that map.

The same logic works in the training world. To provide corporate learners fuller and richer learning experiences, organizations are starting to map the learner's path from recognizing learning needs to actual learning – and beyond. LEM is about moving the focus of training, from an instructional design to an experiential perspective – for the learner. It’s about going beyond just course design in order to boost learner satisfaction.

 LEM is about moving the focus of training, from an instructional design to an experiential perspective – for the learner


The difference between traditional training design and  experience-based training design: 

While conventional learning models had the organization controlling what, where and how an employee needed to learn, LEM puts that control into the hands of the learner. It maps learner experiences through various stages of progression, from building awareness of learning needs, to consuming learning and applying it on the job. 



What are Experience Maps? 

Experience maps act as a visual interpretation of how a learner will interact with learning opportunities available to them within the organization, and the various resources offered to fulfill those opportunities along the different moments.

LEM takes a holistic view of learning by offering an end-to-end experience to the learner, based on:

  • The specifics of the jobs that individuals will need to perform
  • The information, knowledge, people and company resources needed to succeed in that job, in the different stages
  • Individual preferences for how people are likely to learn – in-class, on the job, while commuting, or at home
  • The career paths learners are likely to aspire towards while employed with the organization
  • Additional learning experiences they might like to pursue to advance through those career paths

LEM also recognizes that when the object of a particular learning initiative (i.e. the employee) takes control of his/her learning, it is more likely to provide them a more fulfilling and rewarding experience, than a company-enforced learning path.


Key Components of A Learner Experience Map 

Before building an eLearning or corporate training program in your company, it is important to consider the different learning journeys that specific segments of your workforce could potentially undertake. Using that insight, you can then identify potential pain points (that you need to address), and touch points (that employees may use to interact with training opportunities).

A typical Learner Experience Map would comprise of the following:

1) Learner Profile: This is the most important building block of your LEM, as it describes who the employee is, what their roles, goals, and aspirations are, and what potential learning opportunities they could typically need to succeed, and how (in-class, virtual class, mobile, desktop) they would usually consume learning content.

2) Learning Paths:  Here’s where you would piece together various stages through which the learner will evolve while working for you; how they will evolve over time (e.g. Intern, Junior Associate, Assistant Manager, Sales Manager, Vice President of Sales…etc.); and what types of learning support might they require. 

3) Touch Points and Pain Points: Each of the above evolutions should be supplemented with appropriate learning opportunities and resources. Here’s where you identify what a learner might be doing (e.g.: Familiarizing themselves with the company’s product line), and how the employee will reach out and “touch” the company’s learning resources to support what they are doing. It is here that you will also identify pain points (or barriers) to successful learning.

4) Timelines: You now need to put some realistic timelines around how the employee will progress through alternate paths that they “touch.” For instance, if an employee is looking for specific policy guidance, how long will it take your company’s learning environment to provide her/him with all the knowledge they require.

5) Mode: This is where you identify various modes of interaction. For instance, touch points could occur via emails, corporate websites (inquiry forms), social media interactions, in-class sessions, virtual or eLearning, or Chat Rooms. You should examine all the available channels for delivering learning content to this employee based on his/her Learner Profile.

For instance, a 68-year old mid-level executive on the verge of retirement will (typically) not seek learning experiences on social media. Therefore, in-class, face-to-face delivery modes should be made available to anyone with such a profile.

6)   Integrating it all: For LEM to be successful, you need to integrate the map with each employee’s career progression. As he/she moves through the designated learning path, the company must have updated, appropriate and preferably real-time, learning resources to support the learner  

You may use several approaches to build LEMs. Some are text-based, some may be tabular, many use narratives and others may be graphical models that are color-coded to provide visual stimulus.

Here is a great guide on how to create a learning journey map. They use this helpful spreadsheet to start mapping. 


See these examples for inspiration:

Image result for learning experience map + training





There are a number of resources online that you can access to get started, but regardless of what approach you take, you need to ensure that you at least include the 6 major components discussed above. 

Recommended read: Learner Experience Design: The Core of Active Deep Learning



Learner as Customer: Implications & opportunities for corporate learning functions

Learner Journey Mapping for #LXDesign

LX Journey Mapping Workshop

Experience maps, user journeys and more…

Using Design Thinking to Embed Learning in Our Jobs 

Related Posts

Would You Take Your Own eLearning Course?

Anyone seeking to create meaningful and engaging eLearning courses can benefit by remembering what it is like to be on the other side. It is bad practice to subject learners to any training that you would not participate in yourself. It’s time you stop blaming the “boring” content and commit to stop tormenting the learners who are required to take your course! Our job as eLearning designers is to FASCINATE and DELIGHT the learner from beginning to end. In the excitement of launching a new course, it’s easy to overlook details. Therefore, it can be very useful to have a checklist for last-minute touches.

  • 5 min read
  • Sat, Oct 16, 2021 @ 09:46 AM

Are You Measuring The Impact of Your Online Training Programs? Start here

Beyond the traditional learning metrics like registrations and completion rates, how can we begin to understand the real impact that online training is having within our organizations? 

  • 11 min read
  • Thu, Oct 14, 2021 @ 05:55 PM

Motivate Employees to Participate in Training: 8 Ideas

Let’s face it; the word “training” rarely inspires much joy in an office. People commonly associate training with school, and few people really want to go back there or take time out of their job to do it. But, the fact remains, that training is still pretty much the best way to make workers better at their current job and possibly even to move them up to a higher position. You might think “shouldn’t telling employees to take a course be enough of a reason for them to do it?” Making training mandatory will up attendance, but it is motivation that actually allows learning to happen. Motivation is what turns an interest in a subject and a desire to get ahead into actual action.  Consider how many times you have said you want to do something like write a novel or learn a new language but have you done those things? If you have those goals but haven’t accomplished them, then you have experienced the frustration that comes with having the desire but not motivation. Your employees also need this push of inner strength that motivation brings in order to actually seek out and absorb the information available. But how do you motivate learners to participate in training? Read on to get an insight into getting your employees to take action towards development.

  • 12 min read
  • Sat, Oct 09, 2021 @ 08:49 AM