How asking questions helped me understand the design process.

Learning is not a straightforward process. Often when one has embarked on a journey of discovering new skills, there will be many instances where what is being taught does not register in the learner’s brain the way the teacher intended. However, it’s times like these that questions should be asked. when a learner decides to ask a question, it allows h/she to revisit an area where a certain topic might’ve gone misunderstood and in doing so will allow the teacher to clear up any grievances and allow for a better understanding of the topic at hand.

Recently I decided it was finally time to polish my designer skills (and by polish I mean create) by learning the main designer tools in the adobe suite starting with photoshop. I happen to have a few friends who have been dabbling with photoshop for a good period of time so I decided that it would be best to enlist the help of my trusted colleagues to smoothen the journey of becoming a photoshop expert. So after a few phone calls and long detailed descriptions concerning compensations, we finally started the lessons. My friend began by taking me through all the adobe main programs and describing their uses and therefore which software will be needed according to what job needs to be done. After some hefty explanations, we started on photoshop.

For the first lesson, he decided it would be best if he went ahead and created something while I watched in the company of his fine narration skills on how a typical design process should go ahead. While I marveled at how smoothly my friend created and edited his project, I immediately realized that there was a part of his design process I wasn't getting. This was to do with the layers. Every time he created a layer, he took a few extra minutes labeling and placing the new layer in its own categorized folder. I was puzzled. Would it not be faster to leave the layers labeled the way photoshop had made them upon their creation? Why waste all that time and effort? What was he gaining by taking such actions during his work? Somehow my friend noticed that he had left me behind and asked me if I was okay and I immediately blurted out how puzzled I was about his process. After a quick laugh, he went on to explain in a calm and unphased manner how taking the few extra minutes to label and categorize layers helps in the organization of a project. He also added that as this was our first lesson, the project he was showing me was quite small and that he completely understood why I thought it unnecessary to spend time labeling but then he went further to add on how during projects of a bigger scope, labeling will come in handy for a designer when retrieving information. He then proceeded to show me a project of his that was really huge and describe to me how labeling and categorizing this project helped him and his team operate smoothly.

In summary, asking questions is an excellent way of learning. Teaching models, which employed question and answer pattern most times has proven to be more effective than just straight-forward delivering a lecture or lesson, why? It attaches a reason, a clearer understanding, and a meaning to information the learner is trying to assimilate via the use of words like why, what, when, how, etc. Looking at those words they expose reason, meaning, time and way (pattern or style), etc, and once these are noted by any learner its easy to put into practice the theoretical knowledge gained as the learner knows why s/he must do what s/he ought to do, when to do it, how to do it to achieve expected results and the meaning associated with what s/he is doing.