June 24 2014

Journey Mapping for a Better E-learning Experience

Written by Lambda Solutions

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A journey map is a service design tool used to visualize a user's service experience from beginning to end. It is particularly useful for complex services with many steps, touch points, and processes that work together.

Journey mapping is typically used in healthcare, insurance, and other large-scale or competitive consumer service environments, but online education providers and corporate trainers stand to benefit from mapping too. E-learning is especially diverse in the variety of content, media, materials, and interactions it offers, and no matter how tech-savvy a learner may be, poorly implemented systems can be a barrier to successful learning. The holistic, birds-eye-view a journey map provides, can help you understand how those elements all work together to create a the user learning experience.

Journey Map Vocabulary

  • Touch points refer to the specific stages of the learner experience. For example, the point at which a learner receives an enrollment email. Touch points are shown graphically to depict timing and relationships with each other.

  • Front stage refers to the actors and actions the learner directly interacts with. For example, virtual classroom sessions.

  • Backstage refers to the actors and actions who work behind the scenes to create the learner experience, for example the instructor who grades a quiz.

  • Evidence refers tangible and intangible elements that influence the experience. A PDF learning guide for example, or the speed at which an learning management system website loads.

  • Technology speaks for itself – it refers to the specific technology involved at a specific step in the service process. For example, a Google Hangout course tutorial.

3 Benefits of Journey Mapping for eLearning

  1. Journey mapping helps see the learning experience from the learner perspective, which means barriers that otherwise might not be obvious from the administrative perspective can be tackled; and a more engaging – and therefore more successful – learning experience can be created.

  2. Journey maps can help determine if technology and other tools being used are doing their jobs effectively.

  3. The service experience can be examined to see if it contributes and strengthens the learner's relationship with the online learning provider – whether that means helping build loyalty between an employee and their employer, or a student and their institution of higher learning.

To accurately reflect a learner's experience in an education or training program, journey mapping requires a considerable amount of research and planning. Interviews, surveys, instructor observations, and mystery shopping can be used. The results, though, can be worth it: More engagement, happier learners, more sympathetic trainers and administrators, stronger loyalty, and better learning.

To see example journey maps along with development tools and exercises, visit Service Design Tools.

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