On September 24th 2014 Joyce Yee and I were invited by Fredrik Matheson of IXDA Oslo to host a Design Fiction workshop to explore the future of UX Education. The need for this workshop came from the UX industry in Oslo, who felt they were not getting sufficient skilled UX professionals in Norway. To kick off the day we had a series of marvellous speakers and participants from schools and industry, and we explored the following themes:
1. Our field is undergoing rapid change. What competencies will be required of a UX professional in 2025, and how should we teach them?
2. It’s not just students who will need to be taught new subjects. What options for training, apprenticeships and continuing education will those already working require in order to keep their skillset relevant in a rapidly evolving industry?
3. The demand for skilled UX professionals keeps growing, and there just aren’t enough experienced practitioners available. How can we increase the number of skilled candidates entering the profession, and at the same time increase the quality and relevance of their formal education so they can have better and more rewarding careers?
4. How should schools and industry collaborate? How can those who teach user experience and those who practice it support each other for mutual success?
We helped the IXDA community respond to the question by first considering what the main failures of the current education system are, and what are the opportunities for improvement. In the afternoon we asked people to use storytelling methods to create a film that re-imagined the future of user experience education in both the short and long-term.
This was the first time that everyone had got together to discuss these issues from both design schools and industry. New collaborations began to form around how the AHO (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design) could interact with schools, addressing the issue of a low intake of school students choosing UX as a career. On the other hand, it was noted that designers would need to learn more and more as they went through their career, engaging with different fields (not only UX skills but, for example, business skills) and needing access throughout their careers to different forms of lifelong learning models.
It is interesting to understand how people see the future of education. Joyce and I compiled a poster of our key insights and a PDF of the process from the day that you can view here.