Why The Primer?

Why the Primer? I’ve been thinking about the LxD Primer for over a decade. It started as another idea, and transformed into the course-book project we are launching now.

Beyond Instructional Design

When I finished my Ph.D. in Educational Technology at Arizona State University in 2010, I had already started conceptualizing a better version of the big textbook we used at the time, then called Multimedia For Learning.  Having studied a lot about cognition, assessment, communication, media, “meso-immersive” virtual worlds, and learning (in addition to instructional design), as well as a taking a specific focus on the way people do and do not understand and appreciate complex nonlinear systems and how that fits into environmental education, my plan at the time was to call the book Beyond Instruction: Learning Systems Design.  Soon after taking my first tenure-track position at a university in California, I realized the book project would have to go on the back burner.

Flash forward more than a decade, and we’re into the 2020s.  Following a variety of academic and professional positions, both nonprofit and for profit, across many spectra of learning and assessment, I’ve learned a lot of things about learning.

And I’ve learned that not much has really changed in the industries of formal education, informal learning, and corporate training. 

In fact, the more corporatized and commodified each of these three sectors becomes, the harder it seems to be to show that anyone is actually learning anything important.

One of the current labels of this body of work is learning experience design, or LxD.  Who knows how long this label will have any meaning, but I think it’s a much more expansive label than any I’ve used previously for this kind of work.

I’m launching the LxD Primer because I want to take a step back and help learning experience designers support learning and prove that the experiences are actually supporting learning, while also moving away from a profit motive as much as possible.

Benjamin E. Erlandson, Ph.D.

Why the Primer: A course, and a book(s).

When re-working the previous BI:LSD textbook outline to infuse my last decade of experience into the mix, I realized that this can’t only be a book.  It’s a nonlinear course that will continue to expand over time.

However, the LxD Primer also needs to be a book. 

It may be a different book for each person who participates in the LxD Primer course. 

I haven’t yet found a name for the way I want the materials of the “book” to be organized and produced, and I’ve also not found a platform for assembling such a “book” on demand (from existing LxD Primer course materials) that comes anywhere close to the functionality and production sophistication or “polish” that I desire for the offline print-based reading experience.

Essentially, this is the way I envision the LxD Primer functioning as a continuously expanding course:

  • The LxD Primer will be constructed linearly, based on a content outline.
  • The LxD Primer is intended to be consumed in a non-linear “pick and choose” fashion, from one module to the next.
  • Contents of the LxD Primer will evolve over time, pushed digitally first.
  • Access to the LxD Primer digital course will be available via monthly/yearly subscription or membership, priced as moderately as possible.
  • Subscribers/members will be able to curate their own “books” out of combinations of the contents that are relevant to their purposes at the time, such as variations in needs and strategies from project to project, implementing different theories or toolsets, different learning audiences, assessment/evaluation approaches, research partnerships, etc.

I’m also considering the option of curating various “book packages” to be made available “off the shelf” for various purposes, available at a flat print-on-demand fee (or eBook download for a one-time fee) for people who may not be interested in a subscription or membership.

Why do I think it’s important to offer a customizable printed book format for this material?

Because I think it is important for everyone to limit their screen time, and I think it is also important to cater to the subset of the human population that prefers to read off a page, even if they don’t yet know that is what they prefer!

As you’ll see mentioned in several places throughout the contents of the LxD Primer, it’s always good to have a plan for what happens when any technology fails.  Or when the power goes out.

Thus, the LxD Primer is a course, and a book.

This is a manifestation of hybridization of learning experiences, put into practice!

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The LxD Primer is Copyright © 2022 Benjamin E. Erlandson, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

The LxD Primer is part of the RESCIV family of projects.