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Imagination can connect learners with a seemingly unrelatable learning experience.

Do you always eat when you’re hungry?

Generally, yes. When we recognize a need, we fill it.

Do learners recognize every learning experience as an opportunity to fill a need?

Not necessarily.

Idealism believes learners have personal, relatable needs and goals to every learning experience they engage with. But reality draws more practical conclusions.

Some topics appear unrelated to learner needs and goals. Certain learning experiences must appeal to wide audiences, varying age groups or learners at different skill levels. Some engage with learning experiences for no reason other than they ‘have to.’

In such cases, is it impossible to serve learner needs and wants?

Not necessarily.

Learning experience design is about affecting real change in actions and behavior. Accomplishing that means understanding how the core issues of the learning experience can align with learner needs and goals.

The connection may not always seem direct, but one technique can help bridge the gap.


When learners make practical application of these skills and knowledge, imagine what they could gain. Imagine how they might benefit. Imagine how those benefits could connect with their personal needs and goals.

Effective and engaging instructional design is predicated on understanding the learner.

Challenging ourselves to make greater efforts to connect the learning experience with the learner yields memorable and motivating results.

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Brian Harris

Brian Harris is the Chief of Design and Development with Brilliant Educational Services. He specializes in producing learning experiences and educational materials that are engaging, entertaining, and effective.