Expanding LX Design Capacity at DEI

Noni Korf, Director, Learning Innovation & Design

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education & Innovation

Student typing on laptop with learning analytics icons

What happens when pedagogy, learning analytics, and emerging technologies are mixed in a slow brew with design-thinking principles? At the Office of Digital Education & Innovation (DEI), we believe this powerful combination allows us to focus relentlessly on delighting learners, empowering faculty innovators, and translating research into practice.

It’s now summer in Ann Arbor which means the temperature is rising, our sleeves are rolled up, and ideas are percolating at DEI. Over a few short years we’ve been fortunate to partner with nearly 150 faculty who have designed exceptionally thoughtful learning experiences for millions of global learners. This includes over 80 MOOCs and dozens more innovative projects designed to unlock lifelong learning opportunities and enable personalization at scale. As faculty innovators join us in the lab during the summer months, we often ask them about their experience creating MOOCs.

The most common response goes something like this: “It was hard <pause>, really hard <pause>, much harder than I expected. And I want to do it again. I’ll never teach my students on campus the same way.”

What’s this all about? Why do we want to repeat something so difficult? Don’t we have enough to do already? We think part of the answer is in the design. In creating extraordinary learning experiences faculty innovators are first thinking big about student motivation and experience curation before next layering in constraints. Together we are building choice for diverse learners and looking deeply at the data exhaust to make sure what we ultimately refine is inclusive, equitable, and accessible.

As our innovations at DEI grow in number and complexity, we have recognized the need for expanded capacity and expertise in learning experience and design. LX Design is a rapidly evolving field and a fruitful mash-up of instructional design, user experience design, and educational theory. EdSurge recently published a thoughtful piece explaining how LX Design thinking pushes us to embrace not only instructional design frameworks but also graphic design, multimedia production, research-based standards and social media. At DEI, we add dashes of gameful learning and learning analytics to our zesty brew of academic innovation.

Needless to say, the evolution of design in academic innovation is far from over. This is why we’re excited to announce two new roles to help shape our Learning Innovation & Design team at DEI. The talented individuals who join us will help define the emerging field of LX Design at Michigan and beyond.  Each of these roles will work closely with faculty,  project managers, researchers, software developers, and media specialists to design extraordinary course experiences and expand DEI’s ability to achieve our vision of reimagining public residential education at a 21st century research university.

The first role is a Learning Experience Designer, a job title we chose in order to accentuate our commitment to learner-centric design. We expect this creative contributor to come equipped with knowledge of instructional design, iterative user experience design, and education theory, and a passion for changing lives and educational practices by leveraging the technologies now available to us.

The second role is also new as we shape learner experiences through web application development. The new Learning Experience Application Developer will expand our capacity to creatively develop tools and experiences in order to enhance our courses and innovate across digital platforms. This role will work collaboratively within our Digital Innovation Greenhouse to delight U-M students and global learners.

If you’re ready to imagine and apply learner-centric design-thinking solutions, and explore creative relationships amongst pedagogy, learning analytics, and emerging technologies, please consider joining our team! View the open roles on our Learning Innovation & Design team at the University of Michigan Jobs site:

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