Exploring #lxconf: The first online conference for learning experience design

New paradigms in the professional realm seem to become passé as soon as they are popularised – or at least once I finally discover them! It’s been a thrill to feel a little ahead of the curve this week by attending the first ever global online conference for learning experience design or ‘LX’.

Learning experience design is an emerging practice that draws on user experience and human-centred design methods in education and training.

How do you run a conference completely online?

The online ‘Conference Hub’ page was the train station from which one could go to ‘Big Ideas’ webinars, stop off at the ‘Open Studios’ to noodle over ideas, or bump into people in virtual ‘Hallways’.

Every Big Ideas session had friendly facilitation and a cacophony of comments grow in the space of an hour, thanks to the watchful eyes of Joyce Seitzinger (and her cat, who instigated an impromptu interlude by popping on screen during one of the sessions!). Of course, going global makes for a tricky schedule. I was able to make two of the four Big Ideas sessions each day, then watch the recordings from the sessions that happened while I slept. Twitter provided another helpful channel for insights to be shared under the hashtag #lxconf.

Key takeaways

Here were four challenges floated by some presenters that resonated with me:

Rather than being data-driven, apply your own thinking and be data-informed. Allow yourself to be informed by listening to people’s deeper needs. Listen to students’ deeper needs – and don’t dream up your own set of personas, just listen deeply. We all too often frame our thinking by exploring how our product or service provides a solution to ‘users’. When all the things we do are mostly about the solution space, not the problem, then we are going to get in trouble!

Technology has largely been used to sustain rather than transform the infrastructure for and practices of learning. Consider how transport apps give real-time updates and allow you to compare your commute to others. What if we could provide individual feedback and aggregated data on groups of learners, to see all the possible routes learners took? “You’re on track for your degree, but these people who have done work experience will get there 30% faster…”

Kim Tairi shared how she worked with a shoestring budget to bring ‘Maker spaces’ or ‘Play spaces’ out of faculties and into the library, giving all students and staff permission to play and collaborate.


Amy Burvall spun together a beautiful reminder of how to free yourself from assumptions, and find whimsy in the world and creativity in ourselves.

Click through the slides below which Amy shared from a similar presentation and hopefully you’ll feel as inspired as the online crowd was!

For the introverts who would happily give a keynote but never feel comfortable networking over hors d’oeuvres, conferencing online is the way to go. Who says you can’t make friends on Twitter?

To paraphrase philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey: we don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience. It was really valuable for me to take notes and pull together these reflections. If you’re attending a conference, please feel very welcome to share your reflections here too!