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806 ID Meets UX: Creating Learner-centered, Inclusive, Evidence-based Designs

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Friday, April 14

Tracks: Instructional Design

There are plenty of models out there for instructional design, however they come with their own set of challenges and limitations. For example, every instructional designer has experienced getting content that 1) doesn’t make sense; 2) doesn’t align with objectives (operational or learning); and 3) needs to have been built yesterday but they want something “innovative.” The list could go on. Then, we eventually create something beautiful only to get polarizing learner feedback: some love it, some hate it. We’re left to use that data to inform future iterations (again, due by yesterday). Isn’t there a better way to understand what learners want, in a holistic, systemic, way, and apply that to our practices? How can feedback inform design throughout the process? How can we shift the organizational culture to be more learner-centric and less task driven?

In this session we will examine a world where Instructional and user experience design join forces to create better learning experiences. By better, we mean evidence-based, learner-centered, inclusive, and holistic. And not just for the learner but for the designers, SMEs, and, ultimately, organization as a whole. We’ll look at how we can leverage prospective and retrospective sessions to inform decision-making while engaging stakeholders (such as SMEs) from beginning to end. This fosters positive relationships and creates a culture of collaboration and evidence-based decision making. Furthermore, we’ll examine how using best practices in research can inform focus groups and think aloud protocols to help provide insights throughout the design and development process. Gathering this data throughout the process ensures that we are inclusive of different learners and helps us grow as designers. Finally, we will talk about how we can leverage the data we have to inform and reinforce decision-making.

After gathering data through various means we can use the aggregated data points to develop (and continually refine, as we get more data) learner personas. Learner personas then become a job aid (or learning tool) for designers to create robust training opportunities that reflect our learners in a systematic way. By inviting stakeholders to engage with us throughout the process and leveraging the aggregated evidence (provided by learners) in our discussions, we shift the organizational culture to be learner-centric. Ultimately, we will build a robust set of information that can inform organization-wide decisions on learning design.

It’s time for a shift in how we design learning, creating learning opportunities shouldn’t just be a task at the end of a to-do list but an iterative process for continual improvement that leverages the perspectives and needs of our learners. It’s time to blend together the instructional design and user experience design fields for practitioners to create more holistic and meaningful learning experiences.

In this session you will learn:

  • Fundamental concepts of UXD and ID for designing eLearning for global audiences
  • How to leverage a prospective and retrospective to inform decision-making throughout the process
  • To leverage focus groups and think aloud protocols to understand perceptions of design practices and inform iterative designs
  • To use practices in good research design to analyze, summarize, and share data gathered
  • To leverage evidence/data to reinforce decision-making

Nafiza Akter

Training Development Lead, Associate Director


Nafiza Akter has an EdD in adult learning and leadership from Teachers College Columbia University. She has 13 years of experience working in online course design in higher education, working across academic disciplines on graduate/undergraduate courses, executive education, and non-degree programming. She served as the associate director of instructional design at Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2021, she joined Pfizer’s Global Product Development team as an associate director, training dvelopment lead. Her work involves creating inclusive, innovative, and evidence-based practices in eLearning design.

Martin Warters

Head of Education Development Management


Martin Warters has an MA in educational technology, is SAFe POPM certified, and is trained in design thinking. He has 20 years of experience working in education in a variety of online and in-person settings, modalities, and industries. He joined Pfizer in 2020 as the head of education for global product development with the remit of advancing educational offerings and approaches for Pfizer colleagues. His background and research interests include serious games, simulations, and creating sustainable, ethical, and inclusive education.