In the world before Minecraft, we had Tinkertoys, Legos, or even Lincoln Logs. They were building blocks we could use to build a castle, spaceship, or house. The parts all fit into a specific pattern or function; once you knew how each part fit in relation to the others, the sky was the limit.
Pattern Libraries do the same for digital product development. As a component of a digital design system, pattern libraries represent the common approaches to key elements of a digital experience. One such example of a pattern library is UI-Patterns.com.
As you scan, you will see a range of patterns that are potentially applicable to digital learning experiences. Think of the last time you developed a digital learning experience. How often did you stretch to describe an interaction you were envisioning to your development team? How often did you struggle to point your development team to a digital experience to serve as inspiration?
Pattern libraries help to form a language between learning experience designers and developers. Having a pattern library facilitates the rapid creation of digital experience prototypes, enables you to develop MVP’s (Minimum Viable Products) for users testing, and ultimately enables you to develop truly impactful digital learning products.
Pattern libraries are the building blocks of the design system, and as with the wider design system, a pattern library is not intended to restrict creativity and innovation, but rather to serve as a living structure of commonly used pieces of functionality or interactions that can be built into digital learning products.
For learning organizations that use authoring tools, we believe the concept of having a pattern library is just as applicable. For those organizations that use a specific tool, your pattern library would be built around the types of screens or interactions the tool can produce and how and when those various interactions should be used to create a digital learning product.
For learning experience designers, pattern libraries are a key ingredient in creating digital learning experiences that are both impactful and loved by your learners.
Here at WeLearn, we are excited about the intersection of UI/UX and instructional design and the opportunities it presents to learning organizations. We would love to hear from you if you are interested in how to leverage pattern libraries inside of your organization, or if you have a current great use case to share.
We are all in this together. Together we learn.