Hiring managers have told us that to be “industry ready” UX designers must have a holistic blend of hard and soft skills. Many educators understand this and want their students to succeed beyond the classroom. But each educator asks the same tough question:
“How do I teach students to be industry ready?”
Educators face many challenges when attempting to teach students how to be industry ready. For example, it’s easier to grade hard skills than it is to grade soft skills. And in academia, what gets graded is what gets valued. And what gets valued is what gets taught. This challenge has more to do with our educational systems, governances, and funding opportunities than with educators’ desire to provide appropriate education for their students. These types of challenges occur because the focus of academia tends to be on teaching and not on learning.
Keeping this in mind, let’s change the question a bit. Let’s ask,
“How do students learn to be industry ready?”
When we change the question, we shift the focus from teaching to learning—exactly where the focus of education needs to be. We know that people learn by making, by building, and by deploying. Humans have known this since the time of Aristotle when he said,
“What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.”
One of our goals with the Unicorn Institute project is to understand how to make graduates industry ready. Figuring out how we support students learning, by doing, that’s education’s and industry’s challenge to figure out—together. We’re excited to dive deep into these challenges and work to find solutions that support students and hiring companies.