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Supporting Learning and Teaching with Good Design: Report and Lessons Learned from Learning Experience Design in Higher Education



Learning experience design (LXD), that is, the conscious design of learning experiences based on the principles and methods of the design discipline, is a term that is increasingly being used in the design of (digital) learning environments. The aim is to make learning a positive, exciting experience for the learner. This article will introduce the understanding of "learning experience design" and describe its application at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). As creativity is a base for the design discipline, the organizational unit "educational technol-ogy" sees LXD as a chance to develop innovative, quality online teaching and learning materials. The article will show the application and results of LXD of several different projects and resources developed for teachers and students by the educational technology team at TU Graz: the student study progress dashboard, the TELucation website relaunch, and the development of a modifiable digital template for lecturer training.
Supporting Learning and Teaching
with Good Design: Report and
Lessons Learned from Learning
Experience Design in Higher
MartinEbner, SarahEdelsbrunner and SandraSchön
Learning experience design (LXD), that is, the conscious design of learning
experiences based on the principles and methods of the design discipline, is a
term that is increasingly being used in the design of (digital) learning environ-
ments. The aim is to make learning a positive, exciting experience for the learner.
This article will introduce the understanding of “learning experience design” and
describe its application at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). As creativity
is a base for the design discipline, the organizational unit educational technol-
ogy” sees LXD as a chance to develop innovative, quality online teaching and
learning materials. The article will show the application and results of LXD of
several different projects and resources developed for teachers and students by the
educational technology team at TU Graz: the student study progress dashboard, the
TELucation website relaunch, and the development of a modifiable digital template
for lecturer training.
Keywords: learning experience design, teaching, university, design, e-learning,
instructional design
1. Introduction
Learning at higher education institutions in Europe was hardly ever seen as
a purely digital or e-service for learners and teachers before the COVID-19 pan-
demic. During the first weeks and months of closed lecture halls, many Austrian
universities tried to continue teaching as well as possible by using video conferenc-
ing systems, live streaming, or recordings that were made available to students [1,
2]. Interestingly, before COVID-19, the termdigital learning” was connected to
the use of technologies in lecture halls or as a parallel service (provided typically
in a learning management system), whereas now, “digital learning” in Austria
is the prominent term for distance learning with technologies” [2]. To sum up,
E-service Digital Innovation
digital learning” in Austrian higher education institutions can now be seen as an
Nevertheless, even before the pandemic, we at the “Educational Technology”
team at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) have already changed the way
technology-enhanced learning solutions and teaching settings were developed within
the university. While the development of teaching concepts and methodologies used
to be the task of higher education didactic centers in the 1990s, with the adapta-
tion of technologies, other development methodologies were used and adapted.
Instructional design in technology-enhanced learning builds upon the nine steps of
Gagné, among others, starting by gaining attention” and then a presentation of the
learning objectives, followed by the stimulation of prior learning, etc. [3]. Especially,
in the USA Merrill’s [4], principles are popular, favoring problem-based assignments,
application-oriented learning, and day-to-day issues. As a script for the development
of e-learning materials and courses, the ADDIE model, an abbreviation of “analysis,
design, development, implementation, and evaluation,” describes how instructional
design should be implemented [5]. While the development of learning technologies is
of course influenced by the methodologies of software development, the attention for
user experience and the need for good design received more and more attention. The
use of experience from design and software development, that is, the knowledge of
design principles regarding shapes and colors as well as strongly user- and prototype-
oriented methods of design development comes to bear in the so-called “learning
experience design” [6]. In our contribution, we want to explain the key processes and
methods from our daily work within the educational technology team, where instruc-
tional, software, and graphic designers work together. In the form of a workshop
report, this paper introduces learning experience design (LXD) and shows its imple-
mentation in three examples of materials that support teachers in developing good
teaching concepts. Finally, the authors will highlight how LXD challenges higher
education institutions and their traditional way of applying instructional design.
2. Processes and methods of learning experience design
Learning experience design is “the design of learning experiences that (also) use
technology, with the help of design knowledge and methods” ([6], p. 3). This design
discipline has been forming for several years and combines specific design knowledge
and methods (from interaction design, user experience design, and graphic design,
among others) with knowledge and experience from the field of methodological-
didactic design of learning and teaching, as well as IT and application development
[69]. The term “experience” does not necessarily refer to experiential learning
(although some refer to it, see Ref. [10]), but has been borrowed from “user experi-
ence design”: the focus lies on what individual learners experience while learning.
The emphasis on (learning) experience also refers to designing the entire learning
situation, not just the immediate interaction with a learning application [11]. There
are different representations for the process of learning experience design, such as by
Ref. [6, 1214]. Figure 1 illustrates the steps according to Kircher et al. [6].
Sequence A, empathizing with learners, means investigating the challenge
or problem from the learners’ perspective: What do they need and what is their
interest in learning? This includes interviews with target group members; another
typical method here is to develop a persona, a (fictitious) description of person
Supporting Learning and Teaching with Good Design: Report and Lessons Learned from...
representative of the target group. Figure 2 shows such a persona that was developed
for our national MOOC platform development.
Then in sequence B designers develop a set of ideas (called “ideation”). There are
many well-known methods for generating many “original” ideas. For us, it is impor-
tant not to focus solely on certain technologies in this phase yet but to develop visions
of how a learning setting might look like to foster a positive experience afterward.
In sequence C, initial sketches are drafted, prototypes are built, and their usability
is investigated (see [9]). For this, the developed persona can be applied and used as a
tool to foster discussion on the needs of the target group(s).
First implementations, e.g., of learning methods or tools, are then tested in
sequence D. Typically, mock-ups are usedwhich can be paper-based or simple
digital mock-ups. Typically, two users are invited for a joint test, as we then under-
stand better where adjustments are necessary or need to be considered.
Figure 1.
Process sequences in learning experience design. Source: Own illustration according to Ref. [6], Figure 4, p. 11,
which is based on similar representations/overviews by Ref. [12–14].
Figure 2.
Persona developed and in use for the development of the MOOC platform, Own illustration and
shortened presentation. Source: Educational technology at TU Graz.
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After that, in sequence E, the first real application, for example in a (small) lec-
ture, takes place, where the feedbackas in all previous stepsleads to revisions
and renewed implementation of the previous steps.
Strictly speaking, iterative implementation is the rule. The sequence does not
always have to be followed and individual steps may also be omitted. To achieve the
best possible outcome, people from a wide range of backgrounds should be involved
in the processfirst and foremost the users, that is, learners, but also teaching staff
or other stakeholders.
3. Methodology
The question we would like to answer is: How and with what outcomes and
experiences is LXD used in the creation of resources for learning-related e-services?
Within the tradition of participatory action research [1518], the authors, who are
part of the design team, have documented the processes, revised the process steps and
artifacts, and discussed how the usage of LXD methods influences the processes and
perspectives. We actively explored LXD methods together with graphic designers,
software developers, and instructional designers and then tried to integrate them
into our daily work. Based on several different applications, where we applied such
methods, we have documented, discussed, and reflected upon how these methods
influenced the work from an instructional designer’s perspective. We did not explore
if and how the results are better suited for the target groups.
In this publication, we will present three examples of how LXD methods were
applied in the organizational unit educational technology at TU Graz. The target
groups of our examples are students, lecturers of our own institution, and other
interested parties. We aimed to create digital learning solutions for them or services
that support their learning or teaching. Each example will highlight how user experi-
ence methods were integrated into the development of the service. After this, we will
present our insights and how LXD influences or changes the design process compared
with instructional design.
4. Examples of LXD development of teaching-related e-services for
learners and faculty at our university
4.1 A dashboard for study progress: wished and codesigned by students
In a workshop on how to improve teaching, in March 2019, students of TU Graz
expressed their wish to have a better and simpler overview of their study progress.
Based on this impulse by users, the development of a student progress dashboard
was then planned and implemented in the form of codesign and several feedback
loops (see [19]). Figure 3 presents artifacts of initial ideas, development, and the
final product. First, from March to October 2019, an analysis of data structures and
origins was conducted, and initial visualizations were sketched: In the summer of
2019, a codesign workshop with students was held for this purpose, and further
meetings with students in the following months. Then, in spring of 2020, several
meetings were organized with stakeholders, including student representatives,
faculty, experts from the Vice Rectorate for Academic Affairs, members of the
works council, and the legal department. At the same time, information material for
Supporting Learning and Teaching with Good Design: Report and Lessons Learned from...
students was produced (see [20, 21]). Eighteen months after the first vague ideas,
the new study progress dashboard was implemented for all bachelor students of the
Faculty of Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering in May 2020 (see Figure
3, bottom right image page). User feedback was then gathered for minor revisions.
After a 6 month test phase, the service was made available for all bachelor students
in December 2020, including various information materials and the development of
a consulting services.
The study progress dashboard is intended to give students a helpful overview
of their successes and activities. The data used was already accessible before, but
students had to painstakingly gather it; now in the dashboard, it is visualized in such
a way that your study progress is visible briefly (or with a few more clicks). Now
students can see, colored appropriately, their achievements and the credits they have
gained in comparison to the average of the other students. In addition, their own
study progress, the progress in the various compulsory and elective subjects, and
the official study recommendation are clearly displayed. By visualizing the learning
data, students can now keep better track of their own learning process, which might
ultimately lead to an improvement in their study success [19]. Student satisfaction
with the dashboard is very high; there have been comparatively few complaints or
ambiguities communicated via the feedback function since the system has been rolled
out across the university.
4.2 The collection of texts for lecturers: TELucation becomes a low barrier
TELucation (“technology enhanced learning” and “education”) is a service for
teachers in higher education, offering them freely available information and step-
by-step guides to improve their technology-enhanced teaching and stay up to date
with developments in the field. TELucation was developed based on several internal
Figure 3.
Artifacts from the codesign sessions with students and result of the development of the TU Graz student
dashboard. Top left: Students’ needs and initial ideas, top right: A first sketch, bottom left: Annotated paper
prototype, bottom right: Final dashboard. (Source: Ref. [19], Figures 5 and 7).
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workshops at TU Graz with teachers, an online discussion over 3 weeks, and a final
round table discussion during the strategy development of TU Graz regarding
digitalization, where teachers expressed the wish to have information on different
concepts, tools, and implementations as a starting point for their own continuing
education, and so that they know what to ask for if necessary. As a result, a website
with TELucation articles in five categories was launched in 2021. As the topic of
technology-enhanced teaching has received a lot of attention due to the closure of
university spaces [1], the website had to be expanded and adapted accordingly. We
chose to do this according to the idea of learning experience design.
The users’ demands were crucial to the decision to adapt the website since teachers
in higher education were requiring more step-by-step guides for digital teaching and
wanted to find these guides on a single page. As a public institution, we also aim to
reach a diverse target group and so the second focus of the adaptation was on acces-
sibility, in line with the WCAG 2.1 standards [22] to guarantee a good user experience
for all higher education teachers using the service. This phase included research into
accessibility guidelines and continuing education on the topic for the instructional
and graphic designers involved in the project. A colleague with a visual impairment
and expertise in accessible web design was also able to contribute his expertise.
In the first step, requirements for the new website were identified based on
users’ needs: The TELucation website must be navigable by keyboard, a path must
indicate where you are on the website, the color scheme should be changeable (for
color-blind people), no light boxes should be used because they are not recognized by
screen readers. At the same time, it was suggested to also introduce the team behind
TELucation and explain who is behind the project to make the service feel more
personal. Some design choices were deliberately kept from the previous website: cat-
egories of articles should still be easily distinguishable by color and by the icons used.
All changes made should not interfere with the open license of the website, because
TELucation was supposed to remain an OER.
As envisaged in LXD, these ideas were not only discussed and implemented but
also shown to the target group with the help of sketches and mock-ups and adapted
according to the user feedback. Different website templates were compared with each
other and the one with the most positive feedback was chosen for implementation.
Testing was not only done with accessibility test tools but also by users with a dis-
ability. In the meantime, the TELucation website has been fully revised and is now as
accessible as possible. In addition, a “TELucation map” and a guide for authors, which
can be downloaded from the website, make the editing and design process of the
content transparent for teachers (Figure 4).
Figure 4.
The TELucation folder: first online version (left), first sketches (middle), and accessible new version (right).
Source: educational technology at TU Graz; screenshots of .
Supporting Learning and Teaching with Good Design: Report and Lessons Learned from...
4.3 OER canvas: modifiable working aid for OER projects
Our third application of LXD addressed users outside of our university: We
planned to offer materials that we have developed for our teachers to others so that
they can adapt them themselves. The material in question is the “OER canvas”, a tem-
plate that can be used in print or digitally for consultations or training on the topic
of open educational resources (OER). The OER canvas guides through the planning
and creation of openly licensed educational resources, for example with a checklist
or relevant URLs. We had already learned from our experience with an “OER project
canvas” that others like to adapt such tools: In 2018, we offered to send interested
parties an Open Office file for translation in a short time and 17 translations of the
canvas were created and published [23]. From a legal point of view, such modifica-
tion and republication were allowed since the OER canvas itself was openly licensed.
In 2021, we planned to also make the OER canvas (Figure 5, middle) avail-
able so that modifications and translations can be made easily. We wanted to
avoid using Open Office this time since we wanted to make the modification
very easy and preferably have a document that can be edited online. After some
consideration, we decided to publish the canvas as a Google Slides file. Without a
Google account, the template can be downloaded in various formats includ-
ing Microsoft PowerPoint and Open Office files. For people who have a Google
account, creating a copy that can be edited is an even easier option. The template
can then be edited in several languages and design variants in different formats.
To en su re th at ever yt hi ng i s und ers tan dab le a nd ever yone w ill p rodu ce ro ug hly
the same results, instructions on how to proceed are included in the first slide. The
canvas itself was presented at the global OERcamp 2021 (Figure 5, center). It was
promptly translated into Telugu (Figure 5, right).
5. Result: a different view on teaching and learning with LXD
LXD methods require an engagement with the target group and its needs. This
change of perspective is particularly challenging in higher education, where tradition-
ally the focus lies strongly on a systematic transfer of knowledge and development
of discipline-related competencies. The development and introduction of such
knowledge are learning goals oriented and often chronologically follow developments
in the discipline rather than focusing on the learners’ interests and experiences while
learning. LXD sets a clearly different focus here with its perspective on the learner
Figure 5.
The first sketch of the OER canvas (left, source: educational technology at TU Graz), the modifiable original
canvas version for Austrian teachers [24], [center], and a translation into Telugu [25], [right].
E-service Digital Innovation
and their perspective. For example, the focus is not on what a learners should already
be able to do, but on what he or she can potentially do. The main question is how
someone learns particularly well.
To illustrate these results, we use the visualization of the “didactic triangle”
to show relevant aspects in the design of teaching arrangements [26] in Figure 6.
Whereas in higher education the focus is typically on the arrangement of content and
actions related to the competencies to be acquired, LXD has a clearer focus on the
concerns of the learners.
6. Discussion
So, not surprisingly, all the examples mentioned here concern creations by the
service unit educational technology; we do not know of a similar design of lectures
with the help of LXD methods by university teachers’ own initiative so far. We would
like to add that the term LXD and the self-understanding of LXD are not yet clearly
sharpened. We also learned that LX designers cannot take charge of the entire process
of designing technology-enhanced learning experiences, as they continue to have only
a specific view of the process and outcome. Collaborations with other disciplines are
certainly still essential here.
For our educational technology team, the adaptation of LXD was not very excit-
ing” since user experience methods are well-known and common, especially in
software development. We have now, however, transferred these to other settings and
teams that do not primarily work on software applications.
7. Conclusion: challenge and chance of LXD implementation in higher
education institutions and a recommendation
A challenge for LXD, perhaps specific to universities, lies in the fact that
d e v e l o p m e n t m e t h o d s f o r d i d a c t i c - m e t h o d i c a l d e s i g n s a r e h a r d l y a r e s e a r c h o b j e c t
themselves and it is also not trivial to research them. Thus, the exchange about such
Figure 6.
The different perspectives of instructional design in higher education versus learning experience design.
Supporting Learning and Teaching with Good Design: Report and Lessons Learned from...
Author details
MartinEbner*, SarahEdelsbrunner and SandraSchön
Graz University of Technology, Austria
*Address all correspondence to:
innovations happens rather marginally, even in more research-oriented networks, such
as technology-enhanced learning or development of teaching at universities. In any case,
however, we expect that activities for the professionalization of LXD, that means its use
in further education and also by teachers will increasingly lead to awareness of its devel-
opment. Ultimately, it is important to us that we support good teaching with technology.
This increased interest found resonance as a trend toward quality online learning” in
the current Horizon Report [27]. For us, LXD is a helpful wayto better realize this claim.
As we have shown, LXD puts the learner at the center of its work. In practical
terms, this is what we might expect from instructional design in general, but where
we have seen a less defined practical application. So, with what we have now learned
from LXD, we would like to advocate also for learning situations that are not pri-
marily about e-learning, or about digital services, to focus more on the actual user.
This can be done simply by sharing and discussing plans and mock-ups with them.
Furthermore, we have also learned that besides methodological considerations, early
involvement of graphic designers and e-learning developers give everyone a better
picture of the needs, backgrounds, and considerations of all parties involved. This
may mean that the design process will not be shorter or less time-consuming per se,
but unproductive “loops” or “mistakes” may be avoided.
The developments of materials presented here, in particular the OER canvas, are
partly funded by the Open Education Austria Advanced project (OEAA, 2020-2024)
with financial support from the Austrian ministry BMBWF.
Conflict of interest
The authors state no conflict of interest.
© 2022 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of
the Creative Commons Attribution License (,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided
the original work is properly cited.
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... Learning experience design (LXD) is the conscious design of learning experiences based on the principles and methods of the design discipline (Ebner, Edelsbrunner, and Schön, 2022). This term is being used in the design of digital learning environments. ...
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At Graz University of Technology (TU Graz, Austria), the learning management system based on Moodle ( – last accessed February 10, 2021) is called TeachCenter. Together with a campus management system – called TUGRAZonline – it is the main infrastructure for digital teaching and general study issues. As central instances for both teachers and students, various services and support for them are offered. The latest developments include the design and implementation of a study progress dashboard for students. This dashboard is intended to provide students a helpful overview of their activities: It shows their academic performance in ECTS compared to the average of their peers, their own study progress, and the official study recommendation as well as the progress in the various compulsory and optional courses. The first dashboard prototype was introduced to all computer science students in May 2020, and a university-wide rollout started in December 2020. The chapter describes design considerations and design development work, implementation, as well as the user feedback on the implementation. Finally, the authors present recommendations as guidelines for similar projects based on their experience and students’ feedback and give an outlook for future development and research.
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Learning Experience Design (LXD), also die bewusste, auf Grundlagen und Methoden der Designdisziplin erfolgten Gestaltung von Lernerfahrungen, ist ein Begriff der immer häufiger bei der Gestaltung von (digitalen) Lernumgebungen genannt wird. Zielsetzung ist dabei, das Lernen zu einer positiven, spannenden Erfahrung für die Lerner/innen zu machen. Dieser Beitrag beschreibt den Prozess des Learning Experience Designs im deutschsprachigen Raum und erläutert, wie sich diese Designdisziplin zur Gestaltung von Lernerfahrungen mit Lernenden anwenden lässt und nennt Bezüge zu Design im Allgemeinen, Learning Experience Design, Interaction Design, User Experience Design sowie Grafikdesign. Es werden dazu Fachbegriffe erläutert, Abläufe, Methoden und Verfahren zur Umsetzung, sowie zahlreiche Beispiele, u.a. aus unterschiedlichen Umsetzungen der Technischen Universität Graz (TU Graz) dargestellt. Der Beitrag schließt mit einer Beschreibung von Herausforderungen sowie einen Ausblick auf die aktuellen Professionalisierungsbestrebungen und -entwicklungen.
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This article aims to study how Instructional Design (ID), when combined with the principles of User Experience (UX), can improve both the learning and experience of using a digital product. This matter is already being studied by an emerging field of educational technologies and user experience– Learning Experience Design (LXD). This new field incorporates elements from different subjects, such as interaction design, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and teaching. It is essential to study how the interface of digital products can support and enable the cognitive and affective processes associated with the learning experience and placing them in the real context of the user. Given the above, it will also be approached how help resources integrate into the product interface itself, as well as contextualized in the flow of user’s tasks. In short, this article aims to unravel the digital product interfaces of the future and, thus, understand how we can exploit the new possibilities of interaction and learning provided by them.
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The COVID-19 crisis influenced universities worldwide in early 2020. In Austria, all universities were closed in March 2020 as a preventive measure, and meetings with over 100 people were banned and a curfew was imposed. This development also had a massive impact on teaching, which in Austria takes place largely face-to-face. In this paper we would like to describe the situation of an Austrian university regarding e-learning before and during the first three weeks of the changeover of the teaching system, using the example of Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). The authors provide insights into the internal procedures, processes and decisions of their university and present figures on the changed usage behaviour of their students and teachers. As a theoretical reference, the article uses the e-learning readiness assessment according to Alshaher (2013), which provides a framework for describing the status of the situation regarding e-learning before the crisis. The paper concludes with a description of enablers, barriers and bottlenecks from the perspective of the members of the Educational Technology department.
This article focuses on designing and conducting action research in diverse settings. Action research is a collaborative approach to problem solving. It involves consultative problem identification, reflects context, encourages reflexive examination, and ultimately encourages and empowers beneficiaries for desirable change. In that regard, it puts all stakeholders at the core of the change process. The process of change from research project conceptualization to analysis and policy implications is thus made more understandable and meaningful to community actors (beneficiaries). The chapter features three empirical models from diverse parts of the world. These are Model 1: Photo-voice as a form action research depicting an underused footbridge in Barbados; Model 2: DANIDA Community Water and Sanitation Project, Ghana; and REACH After School Enrichment Program, USA.
This chapter explores three broad principles of user-centered design methodologies, including participatory design, iteration, and usability considerations. We discuss characteristics of teachers as an important type of ITS end user, including barriers teachers face as users and their role in educational technology design. To exemplify key points, we draw upon our own experiences in developing an ITS for writing strategies (i.e., the Writing Pal). We conclude by offering a tentative design approach-the Design Implementation Framework (DIF)-that builds upon existing cyclical design methods but with some tailoring to ITS and educational technology contexts.
The Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate (ADDIE) process is used to introduce an approach to instruction design that has a proven record of success. Instructional Design: The ADDIE Approach is intended to serve as an overview of the ADDIE concept. The primary rationale for this book is to respond to the need for an instruction design primer that addresses the current proliferation of complex educational development models, particularly non-traditional approaches to learning, multimedia development and online learning environments. Many entry level instructional designers and students enrolled in related academic programs indicate they are better prepared to accomplish the challenging work of creating effective training and education materials after they have a thorough understanding of the ADDIE principles. However, a survey of instructional development applications indicate that the overwhelming majority of instructional design models are based on ADDIE, often do not present the ADDIE origins as part of their content, and are poorly applied by people unfamiliar with the ADDIE paradigm. The purpose of this book is to focus on fundamental ADDIE principles, written with a minimum of professional jargon. This is not an attempt to debate scholars or other educational professionals on the finer points of instructional design, however, the book's content is based on sound doctrine and supported by valid empirical research. The only bias toward the topic is that generic terms will be used as often as possible in order to make it easy for the reader to apply the concepts in the book to other specific situations. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009. All rights reserved.
A suitable correlation can be made to represent the simulated distillation of heavy oils starting from thennoaravimetric measurements. This method is applicable to hydrocarbons having an initial boiling point equal or greater than 200°C.The simulated thermogravimetric distillation fit was obtained from experiments with the standard compounds obtained from ASTM D-2887-83 (Boiling range distribution of petroleum fractions by gas chromatography). This method is simple, fast and without problems when applied to heavy feedstocksThe data were used in the determination of average boiling temperatures of products from thermal cracking and thermal hydrocracking. It was also possible to quantify coke yieldsAverage relative molecular masses of products from the above processes correlated well with the average boiling point temperatures. It indicates that, with respect to the hydrocarbon types, thermal cracking is not selective in comparison with thermal hydrocrackingThe equation applied to find the average boiling temperature is following: T = (1/al) (Ttg-a2). T is the boiling temperature, al and a2 are the correction factors, Ttg is the thermogravimetric temperature.