General Assembly

Teaching User Experience design

Teaching students on the UXD Accelerated and 2-day UXD Bootcamps at the London campus

General Assembly Teaching User Experience

Alex taking the class through the problem that he’s tackling through design.

The client

General Assembly is a pioneer in education and career transformation, specialising in today’s most in-demand skills. Leading source training, staffing and career transitions, they foster a flourishing community of 35,000+ global alumni and 250+ expert instructors. What began as a co-working space in 2011 has since grown into a global learning experience with campuses in 20 cities across the world.

As individuals and companies struggle to compete in an increasingly technological economy, General Assembly provides award-winning, dynamic training to close the global skills gap.

Introduction

Mark is privileged to be one of the lead instructors for the User Experience Design 1 week accelerated course in London. He’s been able to immerse himself in the General Assembly community to get back into something that he loves doing — sharing his own experiences. He does this through teaching, mentoring and speaking at events on campus.

Adults learn best by doing

The UXDA course is offered as both a part-time, twice a week (for 10 weeks) option and also as a compressed, intense one week option. One of the main focuses of any General Assembly course is practical teaching, and the aim is to make at least 40% of each and every day chock-full of practical exercises for the class.

The UXDA class hard at work.

How do you teach UX?

Well, that’s an incredibly difficult thing to answer…

General Assembly Teaching User Experience

Yulia putting together her storyboard to help form a user flow.

How do you manage to keep the class engaged in something that is hard to define and open to hundreds of different interpretations and nuances?

This is obvious. Make the complex simple. 😎

Mark broke the course materials down to focus on the most important thing, people. Part of teaching is understanding the engagement learning of each and every student and the class as a whole, and so the teaching process is iterative itself. It’s not uncommon for Mark to adjust the class as he goes and call on his experience of using the best method or scenario rather than following a ‘cookie-cutter’ plan. This results in a more dynamic approach and so encourages class discussion and participation.

By observing and adjusting, Mark is able to deliver a week-long class which is made of the classes that dissect the UX process. To enable people to learn the process, you first have to break it down into smaller chunks and enable people to embrace what they’re doing – to believe they can see the results at the end of the week.

Crazy Eights – to help loosen up the student’s creative ‘muscle’.

The results

As part of the course, students are given the chance to feedback on their experience over the week:

“They were a fantastic team and a key asset in my experience with GA. There was a lot of content to take in and a lot of new skills to learn in the one week intensive. Mark made that really easy and digestible, enabling myself as the student to digest the information that was being presented. I feel like I had a constant support network around me from the instructional team through to my classmates. The content is one thing… how it’s delivered is a whole other experience. The instructional team were amazing.”

“Mark, our teacher, was fantastic. He managed the class in an approachable and collaborative way and he taught us so much during this short space of time.”

“I loved that Mark assessed everyone’s personal skill set and helped with assignments according to that.”

Laura Hasting General Assembly

Laura Hasting
Programme Producer and Community Lead, General Assembly

"Mark is one of the most generous people I've had the fortune to work with. He's willing to make valuable connections as well as giving his own time to advising and mentoring students outside of the programmes he leads at General Assembly.

His calm nature, vast experience and knowledge of resources makes his a well rounded, thought-provoking instructor. He also has one of the best wardrobes of anyone I know.

I look forward to my next opportunity to work with Mark as he always brings a new angle to the discussion and relevant insight to make compelling lectures."

Fiona Whitehead General Assembly

Fiona Whitehead
Expansion Lead, General Assembly

"Mark is an excellent UX instructor and we are lucky to have him part of the General Assembly instructor community. Passionate, patient and kind with students. He is also terrific to work with, and we look forward to seeing more of him in the classroom."

Ana Carolina Bernado General Assembly

Ana Carolina Bernado
Teaching Associate, General Assembly

"Mark is an amazing professional and a great (and very tall!) person. He approached the class with energy but in a calm way, which made the students feel at ease and excited about the course. He has an amazing energy and passion, which is always present on all the things he does.

It was very nice to see how during the course he captivated each student by working with them to their specific needs. His knowledge about all things UX is insane, which partnered with his extensive experience is a killer combo. Look forward to having another opportunity to work with him!"