Hello. My name is Andrew McKinley and I am a creative director and UX IxD designer. I am also a student in a professional instructor program. Here is why the two are connected.

a) Interaction design

I believe in synergy; In the the impact of an idea that ties together product and packaging, flavour and font, taste and typography, design and deliciousness. I believe that all the pieces together are greater than the sum of their parts. I recently interviewed to teach a user experience (UX) and interaction design (IxD) course. I failed spectacularly at the sample, 10 minute lesson. Unwittingly, it looked like I took and I flunked the pretest (Carey, B.  2014).

a) Education theory

One direct result of the early failure (I call it that despite being hired to teach) was that it prompted me to join a cohort of professionals studying educational theory and the practical application in the education of adults (which begs the introduction of a word that was new to me, andragogy, referring to an adult focused approach to teaching as opposed to, pedagogy, which is a child focused approach).

c) How do (a) and (b) fit together?

User experience is often placed firmly within the domain of marketing. This has been a challenge to me, since I have little affinity with typical marketing practices. Feeling more naturally invested in educating and guiding my target audience (aka “the user”) rather than selling to them. What I am finding most interesting in the education theories is that they appear to have direct correlations with my professional field of practice.

One core tenant of UX / IxD is the use of familiar patterns. The reasoning being that users should not have to consciously learn a new system if the interactions are similar to all the other systems they have used previously (and are using continuously).

In this sense UX / IxD feels similar to the tactic learning which Merriam S. and Bierema L. describe in Adult Learning (p20, 2014) as like second nature. It is the learning that we do every time we interact with an interface: that learning becomes subconsciously useful for navigating the next one.

I am learning to feel affirmed.

References

Carey, B. (2014, September 04). Why Flunking Exams Is Actually a Good Thing. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/magazine/why-flunking-exams-is-actually-a-good-thing.html

Merriam S. and Bierema L. (2014) Adult Learning Linking Theory and Practice, Jossey-Bass