A global poll of learning professionals has revealed that the role title ‘Learning Experience Designer’ (LXD) is more popular than alternatives such as Instructional Designer, Learning Designer, Learning Engineer, Learning Architect.


 The results of an on-line survey seeking the role title most preferred by most learning professionals was announced at the CIPD ‘Festival of Work Conference and Exhibition today.

The poll was prompted by a light-hearted on-line debate between internationally respected learning evaluation expert Dr Will Thalheimer of Work-Learning Research and Adrian Snook of Learning Accelerators.  Snook concluded that the best way to settle their debate was to “let the people decide!” via a speedy online poll.

The key question asked by Learning Accelerators in their poll was kindly suggested by Dr Thalheimer:

“In the learning field, what should we call a person who is charged with assessing needs, designing and developing learning initiatives, creating behavioral prompts (like job aids), encouraging support for learning application, and evaluating results to enable continuous improvement?”

In total, 190 learning professionals responded to the short informal poll, representing opinions from a total of 25 different countries around the globe.  Participants responded from: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, the United Kingdom and United States. 

Snook commented: “Given the current excitement about ‘learner experience’ and the aggressive promotion of Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) around the world, the popularity of the role title Learning Experience Designer is unsurprising.”

Blue Eskimo  are specialist recruiters in the UK Learning arena.  On seeing the survey results, Director Nick Jones was equally unsurprised.

“Over the last sixteen years we have seen a constant evolution of roles and skills, particularly within the discipline of learning design.  The growing focus on user-centered UI and UX approaches in digital learning in combination with traditional Instructional Design leads naturally to the role of Learning Experience Designer (LXD) becoming part of a modern learning function”

Snook added “It’s surprising how evenly-divided global opinion turned out to be, with ‘Learning Experience Designer’ ranked first, just four percent ahead of the role title Learning Designer!”

The graph below highlights how closely ranked the results for Q1 were, with Instructional Designer, Learning Designer and Learning Experience Designer all competing for the top slot.


In addition to the standard options offered within the poll, respondents had the option of selecting their own preferred options. A diverse range of role titles were suggested, with the two top-ranking options being:

  1. Performance Consultant
  2. Performance enhancement champion/Performance enhancer. 

On reviewing the poll results Dr Thalheimer commented:

“The data confirms suspicions and anecdotal evidence—that the members of the learning-and-development field have not settled on what to call someone who takes responsibility for designing and developing learning-to-performance interventions. Admittedly, this snapshot in time was not surveyed in the most rigorous way, but the results hint at the wide divergence of views. Even the most popular job title represented less than 25% of the total. Whether this indicates general confusion or an industry in flux on the way to a new set of naming conventions, remains for the future to reveal. My own suspicion is that where we once largely called ourselves instructional designers, we are unhappy with that job title and are testing the waters for other titles. My hope is that we begin gravitating toward ‘Learning Architect,’ but I wouldn’t put money on any of the candidates just yet.”

About Learning Accelerators

Learning Accelerators draws on nearly thirty years of practical and commercial experience gained specifying, planning, buying designing and developing custom learning solutions for major national and international clients operating in both the private and public sector.  Services on offer include; performance consulting, job and task analysis, learning needs analysis, learning options analysis, fidelity analysis, solution specification, support with supplier sourcing and selection, contracting, learning design, development and evaluation.

If you would like more information about this story, please contact Adrian Snook via our contact form.

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