Canada Association of Tourism Employees

The Legal guidelines Of Person/Learner Expertise

The laws of the user / learning experience

When you understand how people think and process information, you can design and develop learning experiences that have a powerful outcome and lead to the change you want. As instructional designers, we focus on structuring content that is conducive to learning. Centering the content around the learner opens the door to other considerations, such as: B. how they behave online and interact with certain interfaces. This allows us to integrate the psychology of design with the principles of instructional design to design learning that is not only structurally solid, but also aesthetically aligned with internal triggers that trigger certain actions. There are several user experience laws that need to be considered, and we’ll be reviewing some from Jon Yablonski’s Laws of UX book that we can apply to the next online learning experience we’ve developed.

Hicks Law

We want to minimize the cognitive burden on learners by providing bite-sized learning methods, also known as microlearning, and breaking down content so that complex information is easier to digest. Aesthetically, too, we want the learner to easily understand how to navigate and flow through the experience without confusing or burdening their thinking.

One design principle that correlates with this instructional design approach is Hick’s Law, which essentially focuses on simplifying the process for the end user in order to reduce the possibility of overloading their memory with too much information (Yablonski, 54). Having the opportunity for learners to view short modules at their own pace, rather than taking a 30-minute or hour-long course with a menu of multiple topics, allows the learner to focus on learning one thing at a time that they can do better at keep their memory. Also, the design experience would leave fewer options to choose from and allow the learner to think less about where to navigate and focus their learning.

Miller’s Law

For the same reasons that we would develop micro-learning, we would consider the capacity of human short-term memory. Our goal in shaping learning is for a learner to use their new information and improve their existing skills, use new skills, or adopt a new attitude or approach to the workplace. When a learner is overloaded with information and resources, the likelihood of remembering and applying the information decreases greatly.

To help learners store information effectively, we can provide the content in effective chunks at different points in their learning path. In the case of new employee training, the content within the first 90 working days can be small, topic-specific sections. A small amount of information is easier to remember, which makes it easier to use. This is where Miller’s Law comes in and can be used to remind us that humans have limited short-term memory capacity. When designing online courses, we should take into account the professional backgrounds and learning span of our learners and provide a reasonable, small amount of information that can be applied immediately, given the allotted time frame and area of ​​work.

Jacob’s Law

When creating a catalog of online courses, most companies ensure that branding and style are consistent, and may use templates throughout to give the learning a consistent look. Imagine if it weren’t for this and a learner had to become familiar with navigating the course every time and spending valuable time understanding the layout and format of the course rather than learning the content.

When learners create specific expectations and systematize their thinking, mental models are created and applied to different environments, especially where learning takes place. A learner brings their experience to their learning experience on other digital interfaces like YouTube, Facebook or their favorite website and wonders why they can’t or don’t like the subtitles in their video and share it or wonder why it’s in the top Menu doesn’t have a search bar that makes it easy to find the topics they’re looking for.

If learners expect the same functionality across platforms and experiences, it has to do with Jacob’s Law. According to Yablonski, Jacob’s Law essentially uses mental models and in our case it allows learners to transfer their experience expectation to their learning experience and want the same functionality and style. We can apply this by making the pages of an eLearning course similar to a modern website with a menu bar in the top right corner, or in a similar way that allows for free-form and seamless navigation features that the learner can use to contact support. and even keep the variations of button elements similar to the buttons they may have used on the company’s website or other websites.

Fitts’ law

When designing for the modern learner who can first use their mobile device to navigate their online course, we need to consider the ease of use and ease of use of the course design. The experiences a learner has on their desktop can be different on their phone. Therefore, considerations such as the placement and size of the hotspot buttons in an interaction and the appropriate spacing and location of the navigation buttons should be considered.

A course design with easily identifiable distinctions for buttons, interactions, and navigation allows the learner to maximize their study time, reduce the time it would take to make decisions, and get moving throughout the course. This approach is in line with Fitts’ Law which, when translated into learning, focuses on targeting the learner’s movements and ensuring that the time it takes for them to grapple with the interactions or touchpoints of the course is not a pain point for him.

In summary

As learning and development professionals, we typically focus on the many learning theories and principles when designing learning experiences. Modern learners are influenced by many different factors, and the psychology of design plays an essential role in the holistic approach to the learning experience.

In order not to be overwhelmed with so many new approaches, we can concentrate on the following applications:

  • Hick’s Law, which focuses on minimizing cognitive load;
  • Miller’s Law, which allows us to take into account short-term memory and the need to share information;
  • Jacob’s Law, which allows us to look at possible mental models that learners might employ; and,
  • Fitts’ law pointing us to the learner’s movement and how he would embark on a course.

The correlation between the science of learning and the science of design is practically a mirror of each other, but is usually not taken into account. Through this holistic approach, our learning experiences will produce unparalleled results and transform the way learners interact with learning.


  • Yablonski, Jon. Laws of UX: Using Psychology to Design Better Products and Services. O’Reilly Media, 2020.

Exp.Design LLC

Exp.Design is a creative learning agency that works with small business trainings by providing custom e-learning development, advice on designing instructions, and support for learning platforms and systems.

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