UX Practices in L&D

For the past 5 years, I have been on a journey to integrate some UX design practices into my learning design practices. One practice that L&D experts, such as Shannon Tipton, have employed is Design Thinking. I have used workshop tactics to rapidly test a design that was informed by my needs analysis. One of the harder skills to learn was managing competitng thoughts in the workshop. One thing that books don’t teach you is how to facilitate such a workshop to get the outcome that you would like. It’s a different type of facilitation than classroom facilitation. It’s a careful dance to extract just the right amound of information from participants while managing the over-abundance of creativity. Some may argue that this is beyond the scope of L&D, but is it really? Or is it just one more tool to be effective?

If you are interested, the tools at IDEO have been a great starter. I’ll also share another tool in the coming weeks.

Do you use UX practices in L&D? Share your journey with me.

Free Learning Webinars

Inspired by Cara North and PACT Career Enhancement VP, Stacy Salinas, I would like to share upcoming Learning Opportunities for L&D. Over the course of my career, I have benefitted from free webinars, free ebooks and other resources. Check out this resource!

Limestone Learning publishes a blog that curates free L&D webinars. There are a wide variety of topics to choose from.

Which free webinars or books do you subscribe to? Let me know!

2 Truths and a Lie

From storyboarding this concept on my sketch pad to determining the 2 truths and a lie, this was a fun challenge to put together. However, a difficult challenge when I do not take photos freely in my personal life. I knew that I needed a concept that either leveraged animations, stock photos or text. Given this, I decided to engage with a more human feel. Let’s break down my sourcing:


  • Freepik.com: Millions of vectors, photos, and PSDs with both free and premium options.

I searched Freepik specifically for African-American women. There were many great pictures to choose from. I specifically enjoyed the aesthetic of @wayhomestudio. Freepik has a great attribution license where users are able to modify the photos – and that’s exactly what I did.

  • Flaticon.com: Search for icon. Attribute the icon as is or customize the icon to make it unique.

This is one of my favorite resources to use to source icons and create them. At the height of COVID, we were able to create posters and communications using this site. Additionally, during my company’s rebrand, we transformed our brand to one that leverages flat icons. Being able to create an icon or leverage icons is something that is vital to our design. I have heavily used this website, if not using them directly using them from PowerPoint.


  • freemusicarchive.org: Creative Commons music

I wanted music that spoke to my background since the essence of “2 Truths and a Lie” is a get to know you game. It was interesting, upbeat and most of all it was fun. It really gave the course a fun and uplifting vibe!

Finally, I used several tools to create my e-learning course:

  • Audacity: Everyone’s favorite open-source audio recording and editing tool!

I trimmed my creative commons music with Audacity to create a perfect ambiance. Using Fade and cuts to quickly get a perfect clip.

  • Adobe Photoshop

Editing the backgrounds of my photos to produce exactly what I need for my course. Attribution included. Since I am not making money on this course and it is for personal use/my e-learning portfolio to show my skillset, I am meet the license parameters.

  • Articulate Storyline

The e-learning software that I built my course in. I am e-learning tool agnostic. I develop in iSpring, Captivate and Articulate. Content is king!

Challenges with this challenge

While a great challenge and one that was relatively easy to put together, it was a challenge to Photoshop the background of curly hair of my stock photo model (yes, part of the attribution license!). I am very aware of the challenges in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the industry of design. I’ve edited photos in photoshop with a tighter curl pattern before for African-American men – tight afros, high top fades, low fades, etc. This was my first time editing with a looser curl-pattern. When I’ve edited photos of African-American women, our styles were with straight hair, pony tails, or braids. This is an area that I would like to improve upon as I continue with my design and development. Typically, at my day job I develop with a set of course assets that have been sourced and edited. We work with animated characters and limited human elements. Our Learning & Development team is beginning to weave this into our design and perhaps this will be our challenge moving forward overall.

Professional Backgrounds for Web Conferencing

In my previous post I mentioned the importance of asking participants to share their video. One tip that I shared was downloading a background. I curated a list of curated lists of professional background images that I hope you find useful. When you find an image that you like, simply right click on it, then click “Save As”.

  • Elite Daily curated an amazing list of 8 professional backgrounds. I recommend each background on this list to switch up your scenery.
  • The front page of Biteable is offering several free downloadable backgrounds that I would consider highly professional. You do not have to create an account to download the images.
  • Innovatus Design created some beautiful home office scenes to consider. They offer 3 on their website. Consider your audience as you choose these backgrounds.
  • Breather is offering several neutral conferencing spaces to keep it professional.

So, you don’t want to turn on your video?

This last week I had the privilege to attend the Minnesota Change Management Network Unconference. In our meeting an important question was raised on what do you do when someone does not want to turn on their video? I decided to make an infographic with 3 tips on what to do to encourage participants to turn on their video. I practice these daily on the job and These tips could work in any setting — corporate, non-profit, and university setting. Do you have a tip to add? Comment below.

Mood Boarding

Mood Board (n): an arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text, etc., intended to evoke or project a particular style or concept.

This week, I am playing with mood boards this week to understand the tools, process and capture an aesthetic for future designs. After attending the UX Design presentation from Mel Milloway, I decided to try it to better understand the process and to capture some of the amazing experience that I am seeing online and in some of the interactions. Hopefully this will jump start creativity.

I am using Adobe Spark this week and testing the features of the free tool. My first uses appears that it is similar to Canva. It has the option of creating a short video with stock music. From some of the other mood boards that I’ve seen, Pinterest is definitely a good start and place for the inspiration…but I would like to try to keep a board for professional/play use.

Do you mood board? If so, what tools do you use to “capture the mood” and creative sparks?

Reimagine the Needs Analysis

This round of creating role-based onboarding/inboarding training, I am employing a few new-to-me techniques to think creatively and involve my end user in the process. In 1 week, several end users will arrive at my office to go through a day-long needs analysis session. I will be using design thinking techniques to facilitate the day. I am particularly excited about my “ideate” session where we will use a combination of SCAMMPERR, Brainswarming and mind-mapping to generate ideas about how the future training should look. As I am designing this…I am secretly hoping we will come up with this solution: Star Wars Onboarding Training!