An e-learning consultant’s perspective on UX and Graphic Design. Meet Christine.
E-learning consultant Christine Caruana is no stranger to the concept of online learning. Since she completed the Graphic Designer Associate course and unleashed her creative vision, she’s gone on to become one of our first students to complete the Professional Diploma in UX Design. Being both a user and creator of e-learning content, Christine holds a uniquely nuanced perspective on what constitutes a good “user experience”. This is her story.
As an e-learning consultant working in the Compliance industry, my main focus is the creation of engaging online modules which convey the action points in a memorable way. By this I mean that upon completion of a course, learners should know exactly what key behaviours are expected of them.
Of course, effective language use is integral to this – as a Master’s graduate in English this is the main tool of my trade. However, the impact of striking imagery should not be underestimated. Motivated also by my artistic disposition, last year I took on the challenge of transposing what I enjoy doing with real paper and paint into Adobe Creative Cloud software with the Graphic Designer Associate course – all while levelling up my e-learning game.
It was great! I’d had my eye on ICE Malta courses for some time but never had the time to attend physical classes around work, so it was great to finally have the opportunity to learn online.
Something I particularly enjoyed in this course was learning how to restore old photographs – the transformation of a torn and seemingly irretrievable memory into a detailed, fresh-looking image can feel almost magical. Another highlight for me was learning to create illustrations from scratch as I really value the creative freedom this opened up.
Quite a few months ago I started noticing that “user experience” was suddenly enjoying a lot of mileage in professional and business spheres. The way in which UX would sometimes be mentioned, sprinkled on top of personal opinion or corporate marketing for a flavour of authority, suggested to me that the word was vulnerable to abuse. But I had no way of determining how and when this was happening until I saw ICE advertising the new Professional Diploma in UX and took the plunge to learn more.
Since the course covered the entirety of the UX design process, it’s difficult to identify an area of particular interest – all the components hinge on each other, and there are specific tools to tackle specific problems. However, I particularly enjoyed prototyping in Figma for the final design block. This is where the product really started functioning like a product after months of intensive research and planning, so it was a bit of a Frankenstein moment for me (“it’s alive!”).
My learning curve throughout the course was pretty steep, but I soon realised just how much information I was absorbing and how my perspective was being enhanced in my day-to-day work. Despite the challenge of juggling work and study deadlines, the course’s flexibility allowed me to stay on track with assignments.
Both courses have allowed me to inject extra value into my work. With my graphic design skills I am able to produce more on-brand imagery and visually appealing courses. My UX training ties in really neatly with my knowledge of instructional design as these are both user/learner-focused practices.
However, UX is broader in scope and has multiple applications which also seep into the project management aspect of my work. In this sense, it makes me better placed to negotiate the balance between end user needs and business or stakeholder interests to ensure commercial success. It has also helped me appreciate more the importance of grounding decisions in solid research.
I am an advocate for online learning, not just as an e-learning consultant but also as a consumer. As a society, we have made big strides in this sector (ironically due to the pandemic) and the concept is no longer so novel. Unfortunately, not everyone’s experience has been great, but this should not signify an end to the ‘remote’ conversation – rather, we should treat it as a crucial stage of development from which we can learn. Was the transition from in-person to online perhaps too abrupt? Was the right equipment and software used? Were there experts managing it and ready to help?
When done right, online offers huge advantages that cannot be ignored, and my experience with ICE is testament to this. It would have been impossible for me to complete both courses had they not been delivered remotely as the lesson timings coincided with my daily commute. The availability of recorded lessons was also super convenient as I did not miss a single minute of the content, even when I occasionally had other commitments. Online is the future, and it’s too big an opportunity to miss.