In the world of online learning, there was once a time when courses were shaped around what the instructors wanted. Thanks to the evolution of analytics and educational psychology, course content and delivery now focus on the Learner Experience (LX).

Much like the phrase User Experience (UX) that gathered popularity in Silicon Valley, LX refers to how a product can focus on the person who uses it. Unlike UX, it’s a niche phrase that focuses on learners only. In the online learning world, focusing on LX is no longer just about creating an effective training package. Organisations now have the chance to produce online courses for those who aren’t employees, engaging more people with their brand and enhancing their marketing efforts as a result.

If you’re an instructional designer and you’re yet to use course delivery as a marketing tool, it’s worth considering how well it works. At Darlo Digital, we’re here to demonstrate how focusing on the LX as part of your course creation could enhance your marketing team’s success.

How does the LX work in marketing?

If you’re adept at creating online courses for your organisation’s trainees, you probably focus on the Learner Experience (LX) already. Applying the concept to customers is no different but your desired outcome changes.

When you’re creating a course for consumers, you’re going to focus on making the content useful. At the same time, you’re scattering brand awareness throughout the material, without being too salesy. While this may feel challenging, incorporating the LX into your course makes life easier.

For example, if you work for a translation company, you could create a basic French skills course for business people to use. While creating the course, focus on how to make it accessible for the user and easy to learn from. If a business person finds your course useful, they’ll share it with others. They may even mention it at networking events. Before long, the number of people who find your course useful should lead to more people sharing it, which then results in greater brand awareness and authority in your industry.

Are there any real-life examples of companies using the LX for marketing purposes?

One of the biggest industries where LX-focused online courses prove effective for marketing is software. Take a look at Google, for example. Although most people know of the search engine, smaller businesses may not recognise its potential when it comes to pay per click (PPC) marketing. Google offers digital marketing courses at a beginner’s level, which teach users about onsite SEO, analytics, and PPC.

Google’s content is infinitely useful. It features quizzes so users can monitor their progress and it uses its own tools as an example of how online marketing can become effective. When users see how tools such as Google analytics and PPC can accelerate their business’s progress, they’re more likely to buy into the brand’s products.

Google’s course is so effective that other online marketing firms and gurus promote it. It ranks highly amongst search results for “online digital marketing courses,” demonstrating its efficacy. Marketing gurus are experts in their field. They command a lot of authority because their blog posts and YouTube videos prove useful to others. So, if they’re promoting Google’s content, it’s probably because it focuses on the LX. If you can create a user experience that’s just as beneficial, you’ll see the same benefits.

Other big brand examples: Quickbooks

Much like digital marketing, basic bookkeeping and tax duties are often carried out by a small business owner. Until they have the resources to outsource to a professional, they must learn how to carry out the tasks themselves.

QuickBooks is arguably the biggest name in the self-directed accountancy industry, but there are other brands out there. Some offer similar products at a lower price, which is often a reason for an already famous brand to enhance its marketing techniques. The QuickBooks course comes with an incredibly user-friendly experience: it’s self-paced. It appears that the marketing team at QuickBooks recognised that its target audience faced one challenge: it’s too busy to sit through a routine class.

By providing an online course that users can work through themselves, QuickBooks has the chance to promote its software, demonstrate how easy it is to use, and enhance its brand awareness. It also tackles niche problems, such as creating courses that focus on those who are new to accounting and a course for non-profits only. As an in-house instructional designer, doing the same makes sure the company you represent appeals to lots of different audiences.

How can you start using the LX as part of your marketing approach?

If you already create online courses for a company and you have some data to work with, you may be at an advantage here. Take a look at your analytics and see where users drop off, where their interest dips, and where they fail. Is there a particular OS that appears incompatible? Or, maybe there’s an age group that seems disinterested?

Once you analyse common problems using your current course data, you can begin fixing them with the user in mind. For example, you could make the content more appealing to Generation X. You could also make sure it works just as well with Android as it does with Apple.

If you don’t already have an online course for customers and you’re venturing into this area, you can still focus on the LX. Work with your organisation’s marketing team to see what it is that the target audience needs. For example, if the target audience is a bunch of Millennials with a public transport commute, is the course accessible for mobile and tablet users? Or, if there are gaps in the audience’s knowledge that would make the content difficult to grasp, can you fill them somehow?

Focusing on the LX while creating an online course is an effective way to boost a brand’s presence. Once you start prioritising it, you should always revisit the course’s analytics to see if you need to make changes. If you’re open to consistently evolving, your marketing efforts will grow from strength-to-strength.

Brendan Moloney

Darlo Group CEO