Weeklies

Week 6: Experience Design

“When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”
— Futurama

Digital storytelling is the art of engaging audiences through a spectrum of digital media.   The mediascape is incredibly diverse and includes podcasts, videos, branching interactives, alternate reality games, social fiction, and more.  Because the field is so rich and diverse, there are no distinct formulas for designing or architecting a digital story.  There are story structures (Hero’s Journey, 3 Act Play, etc.) and there are media structures (storyboarding, wire framing, etc.), but each is very distinct to the media.  Unless we look from 30k feet at experience design.  This approach applies not only to designing stories, but also to lessons, courses, web sites, and really - any user experience.   Whether you are building an entertainment experience, a persuasive experience, or a learning experience - there are commonalities across the process.  Most generally, we design backwards with the learner at the center of our focus.

For example, Sage Media's challenge for the HINDSIGHT project is distinctly centered on the desired learning outcomes as well as the learner's experience.  The choice and use of media comes secondarily as a means to an end.    

How do we create training media that requires the learners to engage in the  same behavior during the training, that we are attempting to teach them as a result of the training? How do we create a training where the learning outcome is inherent in the andragogy?

In addition to the wide variety of digital media that fall under the digital story umbrella, there are a wide variety of design methodologies for experience design.  Most modern design recipes today spur from concepts of Design Thinking, and the truth is... they are all pretty much the same.

Explore > Define > Brainstorm > Refine > Prototype > Pitch

Like a recipe for spaghetti... there are lots of recipes and ways to make it, but in the end it's all spaghetti. The Design Sprint is a rapid prototyping recipe that exemplifies the process and ideas drawn from Design Thinking.

Here is a quick list of recipes with some further readings for your perusal.  

One recipe for which I have an affinity has been articulated by game design blogger Amy Jo Kim, i.e. the Player's Journey.

The Player's Journey  (Amy Jo Kim)

This concept is at the heart of the Player’s Journey framework, which is built around designing three key stages of the player’s experience:

  • onboarding – the initial Newbie experience that teaches the ropes and sets expectations for what’s to come
  • habit-building – the triggers, activity loops and feedback systems that turns Newbies into Regulars
  • mastery – the ‘elder game’ that opens up to Enthusiasts who’ve mastered the system and want to go deeper

I like the Player's Journey Framework as a learning design framework because it allows for failure without punishment.  The learner can try and try again until mastery is achieved.  This framework gets the universal pains of grading out of the formula.


“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” – Jean Luc Godard,

Ultimately it is all Human-Centered Design

Inspiration > Ideation > Making Things

INTE5340 is about this process. INTE5340 puts students on the path of the Player's Journey - on the road toward mastery.

Look Ahead:  Beyond the Branching Scenario

As experience design evolves - courses, entertainment, theater - we are starting to see branching scenarios expand beyond the traditional choose-your-adventure type play. We are exploring notions of individualized learning, adaptive learning, and personalized learning.  We are exploring notions of individualized stories, adaptive stories and personalized stories.  How does one design for an exponential set of outcomes?  How does one design individualized learning?  Often one doesn't.  

We design the algorithm.  The algorithm designs the story.  

Given the context of AI driven responsive-design - what is the future of learning experience design?  What will a learning experience designer career look-like in 10 years?  


This Week's Tasks
  1. Read & watch all of the above.  There are no external articles this week. Instead please annotate this page - comment, answer, etc.

  2. Complete and post your Digital Story (2) to the StoryLab site - include narrative about your story, your process, and your media - due by Wednesday.

  3. Get to know Sage Media a bit and consider a question or two about their work. Austin Welch & Richard Fleming are the producers of the HINDSIGHT video above and this one too. Some classmates will be interviewing them in a Dialogue later this week - help generate a solid list of questions about their work and their design process. Add any questions here.

  4. Smile and complete the Weekly-Thing, posted to Slack on Wednesday.


  5. Self-organize and complete your second Dialogue. Dialogues are easy. They just take some organization and scheduling. Use #week-06 Slack channel to get organized. Let me know if you have problems with scheduling or grouping - I can help.

    Have Dialogues posted by the end of the week. Discussion topics are yours to choose, but must relate to our study of digital stories and learning.

  6. Once you've done all you plan to do for the week, complete the Check-In for Week 6 to claim your points.
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About Brad Hinson

Teller of stories; drinker of coffee; father of kids; tinkerer of tools; geek. I am an SEHD Assistant Dean, an LDT Instructor, and a ThinqStudio Director @ CU Denver.
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