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Develop a learner journey map

“What is a learner journey map?”

“What are the best practices for creating a learner journey map?”

“What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when creating learner journey maps?”


In the realm of instructional design, understanding the learner's perspective is paramount to creating effective and engaging learning experiences. One tool that aids in this endeavor is the learner journey map. This content explores the concept of a learner journey map, delving into its definition, purpose, and benefits. It also provides valuable insights into the best practices that instructional designers can employ when creating learner journey maps. Furthermore, it highlights common mistakes that learning designers should be cautious of, ensuring they can navigate potential pitfalls and maximize the usefulness and impact of these maps. By the end of this content, readers will have a comprehensive understanding of learner journey maps and be equipped with practical guidance to craft meaningful and learner-centered educational experiences.


Through this lesson, you should be able to develop a learner journey map.




What is a learner journey map?


A learner journey map, also known as a learning journey map or learner experience map, is a visual representation of the various stages and touchpoints in a learner's educational experience. It outlines the path that learners take from their initial contact with a learning program or course to the successful completion of their learning goals. Instructional designers use learner journey maps to gain a deeper understanding of the learner's perspective, align instructional strategies, and create engaging and effective learning experiences.


Here are some key purposes and benefits of using learner journey maps for instructional designers:

  • Understand learner needs: Learner journey maps help instructional designers gain insights into the needs, expectations, and motivations of learners. By visualizing the learner's experience, designers can identify potential gaps, challenges, or opportunities for improvement in the learning process.

  • Design learner-centered experiences: Learner journey maps enable instructional designers to create learner-centered experiences by focusing on the needs and preferences of the learners. By understanding the learner's journey, designers can tailor the content, activities, and assessments to make the learning experience more engaging, relevant, and meaningful.

  • Identify touchpoints and interactions: A learner journey map highlights the different touchpoints and interactions learners have with the learning materials, instructors, peers, and technology throughout their journey. This helps instructional designers identify critical moments where learners may need support, guidance, or feedback to enhance their learning experience.

  • Enhance learning flow and progression: By mapping out the learner's journey, instructional designers can analyze the flow and progression of learning activities. They can identify potential bottlenecks, redundancies, or opportunities to streamline the learning process and ensure a coherent and seamless progression of knowledge and skills.

  • Align instructional strategies: Learner journey maps allow instructional designers to align their instructional strategies with the learner's needs and preferences. They can identify the most effective delivery methods, content formats, and assessment approaches based on the specific stages of the learner's journey.

  • Improve learner engagement and motivation: By gaining a holistic view of the learner's experience, instructional designers can design interventions and interactions to enhance learner engagement and motivation. They can identify opportunities for interactive elements, feedback mechanisms, and personalized learning experiences to keep learners motivated and actively involved in the learning process.


For instance, consider the following learner journey map template. Swipe to see a completed sample.



Overall, learner journey maps provide instructional designers with valuable insights into the learner's experience, helping them create more effective, learner-centered, and engaging learning experiences that lead to improved outcomes.


What are best practices for creating a learner journey map?


When creating a learner journey map, there are several best practices to consider:

  • Understand your audience: Begin by gaining a deep understanding of your learners. Identify their characteristics, goals, preferences, and challenges. Conduct learner research, surveys, or interviews to gather insights that will inform the journey map.

  • Define learning objectives: Clearly define the learning objectives and desired outcomes for the journey. This will guide the mapping process and ensure alignment with the intended learning goals.

  • Identify key touchpoints: Determine the critical touchpoints and interactions that learners will encounter throughout their journey. These may include enrollment, orientation, specific learning activities, assessments, and milestones.

  • Consider learner emotions: Recognize and address the emotional aspects of the learner experience. Consider how learners may feel at different stages, such as excitement, confusion, or motivation. Design interventions or support mechanisms to address these emotions effectively.

  • Incorporate different learning modalities: Recognize that learners have diverse learning preferences and incorporate various modalities into the journey map. This may include a mix of online resources, in-person workshops, interactive activities, or multimedia elements.

  • Provide clear guidance and resources: Ensure that learners have access to clear instructions, resources, and support materials at each stage of their journey. This may include providing learning guides, FAQs, online communities, or mentorship opportunities.

  • Monitor and iterate: Continuously monitor the learner journey and gather feedback from learners. Use this feedback to refine and improve the map over time. Learner journey maps should be treated as dynamic and adaptable tools.

  • Personalize the experience: Tailor the learner journey map to individual needs as much as possible. Consider learners' prior knowledge, skill levels, and interests. Offer opportunities for learners to choose their own paths or explore specific areas of interest.

  • Collaborate with stakeholders: Involve learners, instructors, administrators, and other relevant stakeholders in the process of creating the journey map. Their input and perspectives can contribute to a more comprehensive and effective representation of the learner experience.

  • Evaluate and assess: Finally, regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the learner journey map in achieving the intended learning outcomes. Collect data on learner engagement, satisfaction, and learning outcomes to assess the impact of the map and make necessary adjustments.


By following these best practices, you can create a learner journey map that effectively supports and enhances the learning experience for your learners.


What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when creating learner journey maps?


When creating learner journey maps, learning designers should be aware of common mistakes to avoid. Some of these mistakes include:

  • Neglecting learner research: Failing to conduct thorough learner research can lead to assumptions and misalignment with the actual needs and preferences of the learners. It's important to gather insights through surveys, interviews, or focus groups to inform the design process.

  • Overlooking emotional aspects: Learner journey maps should not solely focus on the practical aspects of learning. Emotions play a crucial role in the learning experience. Ignoring the emotional journey of learners can lead to disengagement or reduced motivation. Designers should consider emotions and incorporate strategies to address them effectively.

  • Lack of flexibility and adaptability: Learner journey maps should be flexible and adaptable to accommodate the diverse needs and preferences of learners. Failing to account for individual differences or changes in circumstances can limit the effectiveness of the map.

  • Not aligning with learning objectives: Learner journey maps should be closely aligned with the intended learning objectives. If the map deviates from the desired outcomes, learners may not achieve the intended competencies or skills. Designers should constantly refer back to the learning objectives to ensure alignment throughout the map.

  • Ignoring feedback and evaluation: Learning designers should actively seek feedback from learners and stakeholders and use it to improve the learner journey map. Failing to gather feedback or neglecting the evaluation process can result in missed opportunities for refinement and improvement.

  • Overcomplicating the map: Learner journey maps should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid overcomplicating the map with excessive details or unnecessary complexity that may confuse learners. Keep the map visually appealing and user-friendly.

  • Not involving stakeholders: Collaboration with learners, instructors, administrators, and other stakeholders is essential for creating effective learner journey maps. Failing to involve these stakeholders can lead to a lack of buy-in and may overlook valuable insights and perspectives.

  • Lack of ongoing maintenance: Learner journey maps should be treated as living documents that require regular updates and maintenance. Learning designers should continuously monitor, evaluate, and refine the map to ensure its relevance and effectiveness over time.


By avoiding these common mistakes, learning designers can create learner journey maps that accurately represent the learner experience and effectively support the learning process.


Summary and next steps


Creating a learner journey map involves visualizing and understanding the holistic learning experiences of individuals. To create an effective map, learning designers should follow certain best practices. These include understanding the audience, defining learning objectives, identifying key touchpoints, considering learner emotions, incorporating different learning modalities, providing clear guidance and resources, monitoring and iterating, personalizing the experience, collaborating with stakeholders, and evaluating and assessing the map's effectiveness. On the other hand, common mistakes to avoid when creating learner journey maps include neglecting learner research, overlooking emotional aspects, lacking flexibility and adaptability, not aligning with learning objectives, ignoring feedback and evaluation, overcomplicating the map, not involving stakeholders, and neglecting ongoing maintenance. By following best practices and avoiding these mistakes, learning designers can create learner journey maps that effectively support learners' needs, enhance engagement, and facilitate successful learning outcomes.


Now that you are familiar with developing a learner journey map, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Analyze series: Present analysis findings.

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