Human-Centered Design at the Heart of the Learning Ecosystem

In our prior blog posts, How to Build a Thriving Ecosystem for Learners and Learning Ecosystems: Why You Need One, and How We Can Help we introduced the concept of the learning ecosystem as a holistic approach to building a learning environment that supports continuous growth. We established that learning ecosystems encourage learning and improvement for individuals and organizations and can be adapted to different sizes and complexities. They require support in the form of clear and repeatable processes and overall governance; content to sustain and encourage learning both in formal environments as well as informally and on the job; participants to engage in the ecosystem as well as oversee, maintain, and improve the ecosystem; and systems appropriate to the size and complexity of the ecosystem’s infrastructure requirements. At the core of Management Concepts’ Learning Ecosystem services are your and your organization’s goals and objectives.

In this post, we want to focus on how we approach the design, development, and sustainment of learning ecosystems. Fundamental to our approach is human-centered design (HCD). What is HCD? In short, human-centered design is an approach to creating user-friendly, successful products and services with positive impacts on customer experience (CX).  

The HCD approach puts the user at the center, considering their needs, desires, and behaviors. We all know that understanding our customers and our learning audience is important, but HCD takes this beyond surface observation. HCD employs empathy, creativity, and a deep understanding of the individual’s and organization's needs to create successful solutions that support inclusive design by considering diverse human characteristics. HCD allows us to create products and services that meet and exceed user needs by improving CX through feedback loops and agility. HCD also supports the removal of barriers through co-creation efforts. This supports fair and equitable outcomes. 

In practice, this allows us to partner with our clients to support both their short-term tactical and long-term strategic human capital development needs through a total learning ecosystem approach. In this way, we apply HCD principles to identify learner needs and preferences through surveys, interviews, and observation methods.  Further, HCD supports design focused on learner engagement and motivation by creating personalized learning experiences with relevant content, clear pathways for continuous development, learning methodologies that increase engagement and motivation, and communities of practice to foster a sense of community and provide peer feedback and support mechanisms.  

HCD is all about continuous improvement through feedback loops including evaluations, focus groups, interviews, surveys, and user testing sessions. This data is analyzed and used to inform and iterate on learning ecosystem components and functions. All of this involves co-creation with learners to gain valuable insights and foster a sense of ownership and motivation within the learner.  

By using HCD throughout the construction, development, and management of the learning ecosystems, Management Concepts can ensure your learning is centered around the needs and preferences of your learners, fostering a more engaging, personalized, and effective environment for continuous learning. 

Contact Tom Ladenburg at [email protected] or 703-270-4176 to find out more about how Management Concepts can help you support a learning ecosystem in your organization. 

Written by:
Hannah Toney
Custom Learning Solutions
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