I'm currently enrolled on one of their courses. From what I've experienced so far and a couple of people I work with. A lot of it seems to be more principle and technique based rather than hands on design.
For example I'm on the User Experience course and I'm learning about different methods of improving the users experience. How to critique competitors and genuinely think a lot more about UX.
Your mentorship really comes down to 4 Skype sessions (1 a week) with your mentor. The feedback you get on your coursework isn't much more than what people would comment on DN however so you need to make sure you know what questions you have for these sessions.
I hope that gives a little insight :) If people are interested I'll give a full 'review' when I finish in a few weeks.
Thanks for the mini-review, Ollie. As a student (and a bit strapped for cash at the moment), I want to make sure that if I do this it will be worth it. Perhaps I'll wait a little longer to try it out—I'm kind of concerned that I might be paying a bunch of money for concepts I already know. How much experience did you have in UX before you signed up and has it been insightful in relation to that? I'm thinking about the UX research one...
I work in an agency now so a decent amount of experience. The UX research one is what I'm taking part in. So far it's given me some really good insights into how to approach a project. How to tackle different stages and it's helped to re-enforce in my mind why I need to do these stages.
At least on the UX Research one, so far there hasn't been much focus on actual design aesthetics but more the processes users go through and how we can better adapt our designs to suit.
One of Designlab's co-founders here, thanks for the comments Ollie :)
I think our Research & Strategy course is fairly unique in how process-based it is, by virtue of the subject matter. We feel like that’s what learning research is about — helping you pick up a toolkit of techniques and methods, so you have a systematic process to gain insight from your customers in the future. We do hope that the hands-on work in the course (creating a research plan, executing it, creating personas, empathy maps, etc.) helps you develop practical experience with these techniques moving forward. Here’s an example of the work you’ll create: trydesignlab.com/certificates/ux-research-strategy/kollaros/
We’d love to see a full review when you’re done with the course! Here’s a recent review published by the team at UX Booth: www.uxbooth.com/articles/ux-research-course-review/. Happy to stick around and answer any questions folks might have!
Also the 4 Skype sessions are not to be underestimated. They are each 1 hour long and you have a experienced mentor that you can ask anything and learn from his experience. This opportunity is not given very often and for example if your mentor charges usually let's say 75$ / hour you have the costs of the course already nearly in.
Yeah the only thing I'd add in regards to the Skype sessions is you really need to know what you want to ask. I entered my first session without any real questions and it took a while to get going :)
I did one of these courses a while back, primarily to learn a little more. Sure I'm fairly experienced, but anyone could use a set of mentorship feedback on their work. Like many MOOC's I didn't finish, but the real value is not course completion, it's connecting to an advisor. The four 1:1 sessions are well worth it.