Empathy at the Heart of Course Design

Monday, August 28, 2023 No comments
put yourself in their shoes
As a learning experience designer, I work with faculty every day. My favorite part of the job is meeting new people and learning from them. Through my work, I have met many people, and many of them have become lifelong friends. To say I love my job is an understatement.

As a former teacher turned learning experience designer, I am passionate about creating innovative and engaging learning experiences for students. 
Building an online course requires more than just technical expertise and content knowledge. It also requires empathy towards the instructors who will be developing and delivering the courses. Empathy plays a crucial role in understanding their needs, challenges, and goals. 

Why does empathy matter?

Having empathy is like the magic ingredient for setting up a positive and supportive learning vibe. When you take the time to listen to instructors and see their vision, you can design courses that foster strong bonds between them and their students. This connection has the power to boost engagement, motivation, and student success, big time.

Online teaching presents unique challenges for instructors. But when you put yourself in their shoes, you can spot those challenges and handle them like a pro. To help with challenges you could offer resources, training, and support to assist instructors in navigating the online learning environment.

Empathy encourages open communication and collaboration between course designers and instructors. When you really listen to what instructors are saying, you can make their ideas happen, guarantee course success, and mold the student learning journey.

How can having empathy impact course design?

Empathy is the driving force behind course design and development. It helps designers truly get where instructors are coming from, so they can create course materials that resonate with students. This means tailoring things to suit, encouraging teamwork, supporting instructors' well-being, and making those instructor-student connections thrive.

When empathy takes the lead, courses become more than just lessons. They turn into spaces where instructors and students click, everyone's there for one another, and learning feels like a real success. When you weave empathy into the course design process, designers can help build courses that truly amp up the learning experience for students.

red heart


Empathy is a big deal and the heart of course design because it helps us really get where others are coming from. It is like a magnet that pulls people together, making communication and teamwork smoother.

When empathy takes the lead in the design process, it transforms the way you create courses. You create a course that hits home for both instructors and students, which makes for a high-quality learning experience. WIN WIN for ALL!