Top WordPress learning management platform pushes boundaries and needs a compelling, matching interface
LearnDash is the leading learning management system (LMS) for WordPress and other platforms. The company has a culture that always pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the eLearning industry.
LearnDash reached out to us during the initial stages of planning the next major update of their platform, LearnDash 3.0. Prior to 3.0, the user interface of the application remained largely unchanged for four years. It had become dated and no longer delivered the best possible user experience.
Reinventing online learning through design psychology
We started by researching all learning management systems – ranging from small, free options to large enterprise solutions. We wanted to see what design problems had already been solved, what conventions existed, and where most LMS suffered from design issues.
Our findings drove several paper prototyping workshops, where we explored a wide range of possibilities and approaches. What if we threw away all the conventions and reimagined what an online course looks like? What if we just iterated on – or evolved – the current LearnDash interface?
We teased out what conventions and expectations remained and found several areas of exciting new territory to explore. As an LMS is ultimately used to facilitate online learning, we based all design decisions on how it would impact “cognitive load,” a term meaning – in more common language – “mental effort.”
Even a small reduction in required mental effort increases the success of online learning. Our focus became making sure each learner would know exactly where he or she was in a course, what to expect, and what would be coming next.
The updated LearnDash 3.0 application now conveys more information to the end-user in an easily understood manner, while also significating reducing the amount of mental effort required to move through a course. As a result, users can focus more of their energy on learning and retention and less on navigation and logistics. It’s a streamlined, more graceful experience, delivering stronger benefits for each individual using the LearnDash 3.0 platform today.