I’ve helped over 120 students learn about the importance and power of UX as one of the Lead UX instructors at General Assembly in London.  I teach the 1 and 2-day bootcamps and the 1 week UX Design Accelerated course.

Mark Jenkins 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 40,000+ 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

I’ve been able to immerse myself in the General Assembly community to get back into something that I loves doing — sharing his own experiences. I do 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.

Mark Jenkins General Assembly Teaching User Experience

The UXDA class hard at work.

How do you teach UX?

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

Mark Jenkins 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. 😎

I 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, I’m able 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.

Mark Jenkins General Assembly Teaching User Experience

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

Feedback from the students

“…friendly, well paced and relaxed style of teaching. doing the tasks and having to present help quickly solidify my learning experience. Mark was friendly and open and relaxed teaching style helped a lot.”

“The focus on the “user” or students on the course was extremely refreshing and really the reason why the one-week course worked. We were tasked with working on our personal projects from the very start, by going out and showing super-early stuff to others and gathering data. This helped us learn actual useful skills while showing that the process gives results from day one.”

“Mark made the whole week very enjoyable. We covered a lot, and there was a lot to take in, but his relaxed, friendly approach made the whole process fun and manageable”

“…UX course was very effective and I learned a lot. Mark has taught the course in a very exciting and interesting way. It was very hands on what helped a lot to understand the whole UX process. Everyone was extremely helpful and the outcome of the work was incredible! I have learned so much at this time and I have met so many interesting people within the UX business”

“Mark was a fantastic tutor with a teaching style that really helped me make the most of the course. His clear explanations and laid back demeanour meant I felt comfortable asking questions and participating in class. He also made sure we knew where the emphasis should be with each task so we could efficiently manage our time”

“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, Rhiannon & Lucy 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 class mates. The content is one thing… how it’s delivered is a whole other experience. The instructional team were amazing”

Fiona Whitehead, Expansion Lead, 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.”

Read more about my experience as an instructor in a Medium article I wrote: The experience of having experience: My story about being an Instructor at General Assembly.