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Applying digital design principles to achieve learning outcomes

Effective learning processes, whether digital or traditional, always utilise design to deliver the best learning outcomes. When designing digital learning experiences, it’s important to consider the following questions: 

  • What do you need learners to better understand?  
  • What do you want learners to do better or differently? 

The first of these questions is directed at knowledge and understanding outcomes. For example, technical legal knowledge, transactional process understanding, commercial awareness, client and market knowledge, and an understanding of professional standards. 

The second is directed at identifying skills outcomes. Active legal skills such as drafting, advising in oral and written form, negotiating, intellectual skills such as problem-solving, personal and interpersonal skills, and management skills. 

When these two questions are answered, and the required outcomes are defined, digital learning offers the opportunity to design and build more varied, flexible, efficient and engaging experiences for the learner. It opens up the number of available learning formats and channels; synchronous and asynchronous, to create a learning experience that supports modern practice. 

In terms of helping your learners develop better skills, knowledge and understanding across legal practise, consider the following design principles when developing a new learning and development programme: 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Create learning content packages to deliver through digital channels: audio, video, links to client and market content

  • Use audio, video, graphics, online workbook, and interview formats to make content more engaging, and create digital channels internally and externally to deliver more efficiently

  • Embed and monitor knowledge and understanding with online self-assessment questions 

  • Create more engaging synchronous group sessions by integrating learner activities to embed knowledge with polls, questions and quizzes, chat facilities for questions and case studies with break-out groups 

  • Extend L&D reach by convening synchronous conferences across practice groups and offices, and out to clients 


  • Create audio, video and graphic media to provide core legal skills demonstrations, move drafting and advising and negotiation from a traditional format of “this is what you should do” to “watch how it is done”. With this, you can create an asynchronous bank of skills for L&D purposes, demonstrated by practitioners to practitioners. 

  • Use varied media such as audio, video and graphics to capture, and digital channels to disseminate internal experiences, expertise and practitioner skills that are not found in textbooks and databases.

  • Create L&D that mirrors learning through practice by developing simulated transactions and matters that individual learners can undertake on a structured basis. Using firm know-how and supervision, you can further mirror practice by providing performance evaluations of the learner against set criteria.

  • Use digital conference facilities, including breakout rooms and digital whiteboards, to deliver synchronous skills training opportunities. These can be used to facilitate breakout groups and live discussion forums.

  • Develop integrated, structured programmes that combine the required elements of all of the above learning, either for individuals or cohorts, with the possibility of using an LMS to host and structure. 

Design the experience 

By applying these digital design principles to your learning process, you can start to deliver a more robust learning experience that strengthens the core legal understanding and proficiency of your team. With a wider variety of learning formats, learners in your practice can develop a deeper understanding and richer skillset faster.  


The College of Legal Practice is a digital provider of legal education. We create collaborative, interactive and practical learning experiences to help students progress in law. This blog is part of our Online by Design content series, exploring ways to help L&D teams reimagine their learning experiences for a post-pandemic digital age.


up next: Technology and the learning management system