Outstanding! My rediscovery of learning with information design at Interaction Design Foundation — a Review.

Image credits: https://elearningindustry.com

I have always been a critic of distance learning. I considered myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to attend a prestigious college with a (really!) full five-year course. However, even during my undergraduate studies, I felt that we were spending a lot of time learning “inside the classroom”, with very little time learning “out there in the real world”. During the course of my career, I then noticed the huge chasm between the content of the classes and what I really needed for everyday business.

When a professional opportunity arose far away from the “roots” of college, the situation obviously became even more pronounced. When I needed to learn things that no one else around could teach me, and honestly, that I could not name (being more specific — information design and user experience), I ran out of good options except for the internet. Despite the valuable articles and tips I found, I felt I needed something more profound and professional, both in content and way of learning.

That is when I came across the Interaction Design Foundation. I was initially reluctant to join an organization that I knew about only through their website (read “pay the subscription”, I’m definitely not a spendthrift …); I didn’t know anyone that had even heard of them. But as it was something I really needed — and quickly — I decided to invest.

One word which summarizes my feelings regarding the first course I took: outstanding! Concise and well-organized content, logical structure for learning, sure-fire exercises that cut to the chase. Just like that, it was everything I had not expected from an online course. I was able to learn what I needed and develop skills I did not even initially consider. Today I have in information design, not just a skill to ride an extra mile, but a great pleasure in my routine.

“Concise and well-organized content, logical structure for learning, sure-fire exercises that cut to the chase.”
Example of content organization and layout at IDF

Do I still consider myself lucky to have taken a full five years course? Yes. Am I still critical regarding distance learning? Yes. I continue to believe that personal presence and dialogue are irreplaceable experiences. However, I am convinced that there are other forms of communication that allow us to teach and learn in a consistent manner.

Imperative learning needs come up unexpectedly. Moreover, in a world of little time and endless demands, where we need bold solutions to old problems, why not venture to the margins of your own convictions?

Link to UX courses: https://www.interaction-design.org/courses

My favourite (so far): https://www.interaction-design.org/courses/information-visualization-getting-dashboards-right