Advertising and brief-based training

@ifenn pointed me towards the School of Communication Arts, a fee-based mentorship program for the advertising field.

“The style of learning at the school is andragogical – our students take on a huge part of the responsibility for the learning experience. They behave as if employed in a studio. They pitch for business. They work on real briefs. In many ways, we simulate the culture and patterns of their working future.”

The Shillington School also offers learning through theory and hands-on experience working from briefs under real-world timelines. The focus of the program is to help students produce a portfolio.

I believe that learning through real work is more effective (and more enjoyable), however I’m on the fence about how much it matters that the work be self-originated. I’ve created and delivered a brief-based materials for teaching design studio sessions. This was appropriate for teaching skills in a workshop format to a group of people because it fit in a workshop format of a few hours. It was also helpful for the group to share and learn from each others’ results.

When working one-on-one over a longer term mentoring relationship, I’ve found that it’s better to have the person I’m working with find a domain of interest that they felt passion for, and build the program of activities that help them gain the skills they need related to that space. I think that this leads to more engagement in the problems, because it’s more real, and it also leads to ideas that can tie into meaningful work as they pursue employment.

Boon Chew on “why we need UX apprenticeships”

While I was in London a few weeks ago, I had an excellent chat (in an excellent pub) with Ian Fenn @ifenn and Boon Yew Chew @jaremfan about the importance of mentor/apprentice relationships. We’re all exploring these issues in our own practice, so it was a real pleasure to talk to other people who are thinking along the same lines. That conversation was really the genesis of this blog (thanks guys!)

I scribbled a bunch of notes on a napkin which I have not written up yet, but I do want to add a link to an excellent article Boon wrote on the subject, “Why we need UX apprenticeships.I think he’s spot on when he says…

Broadly speaking, there are three main issues that practitioners and the industry is experiencing right now:

  • The huge gap between research and practice
  • Challenges faced by junior and non-UX practitioners seeking to gain employment in UX
  • Difficulty for employers to find UX candidates who can articulate and present good design thinking”