A selection of LearnWell Learning Guides including some digital versions displayed on iPads.

The story behind LearnWell’s innovative Learning Guides

Erin Dolden

LearnWell’s Learning Guides are more than just educational resources—they are the culmination of years of thoughtful design and collaboration. Between 2019 and 2021, we undertook three key actions that shaped our guides into the valuable tools they are today. Here’s how it all came together.

1. Defining quality

Before we unified our print and digital divisions under the LearnWell brand, we wanted to establish what "quality" meant for our digital resources. We all agreed on the need to enhance the learner experience but we knew that quality means different things to different people. To address this, we referenced established international online education quality rubrics and created our own digital course design standards. In addition, we tailored our standards to our Aotearoa New Zealand context and focused on our secondary school-aged audience. This foundational step ensured that every digital resource we produced provided a high standard of excellence.

2. Ensuring stand-alone excellence

At the same time, we explored whether our resources should be able to "stand alone"—provide a great learning experience even if a teacher cannot be present. We believed that this approach would offer the greatest flexibility and value to both teachers and ākonga. By adopting this stand-alone philosophy for all our digital resources and later for our print Learning Guides, we ensured that our resources could support independent learning while also being seamlessly integrated into classroom settings.

3. Co-designing with teachers and learners

The final action that influenced our Learning Guide design was the decision to co-create with our end users. We brought together teachers and students to gather insights into what they would most value in a new style of educational resource. Their feedback was instrumental in shaping the design and functionality of our current Learning Guides. This collaborative process ensured that our resources were not only educational but also user-friendly and engaging.

The result: a superior learning experience

The combination of these three actions has resulted in a suite of resources that we believe provides immense educational value and includes features that many of our competitors lack. Our Learning Guides offer a connected, easy-to-follow journey through the material from start to finish. They use conversational language and include literacy supports to make complex concepts accessible to all students.

By integrating feedback from educators and learners and adhering to our rigorous standards, we’ve created resources that not only educate but also inspire and empower students. Our guides are designed to meet students where they are, providing the support and flexibility needed to succeed in today’s educational landscape.

Back to blog