Empathy Mapping

Empathy mapping is a design technique that you and your team can use to:

  • center your design around learners and their goals,
  • situate your design ideas in real-world learning contexts,
  • and develop insight into key breakthroughs in the learning process.
Example empathy map:

This empathy map explores the challenge of working in groups on an experimental research project. The designer has included a mix of statements, questions, and sketches while brainstorming.

Notebook iconIn your notebook: Your Empathy Map

Start by making your own empathy map.

  1. Download the Build Something Toolkit and print a blank empathy map template, or sketch the empathy map in your notebook. Each member of the team should have their own copy of the empathy map.
  2. Identify a learning challenge you would like to explore either individually or with your team (e.g., “writing an effective literature review”).
  3. Work individually to create an empathy map for this challenge. Work rapidly, generating ideas individually for no more than 5 minutes (i.e., about about 1 minute for each of the questions on the empathy map).
Notebook iconWith your team: Empathy Mapping

Share your empathy maps

  1. Come back together as a team to share your empathy maps and compile your ideas. Your goal is to help each other map out different perspectives on the learners, their goals, and the learning contexts. You can also begin to inventory the most important breakthroughs that will help learners achieve their goals.

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