Create an empathy map following these steps:

  • Gather information from and about your learners. You may already have useful information that you have gathered through feedback from course evaluations, emails, and other communication, but ideally you’ll create a specific method of gathering feedback for this exercise. You might do this through conversations or other forms of communication.
  • Ask you learners what they think, feel, say, do, see, and hear. What do they have difficulty understanding or doing?
  • Reflect on the feedback you’ve collected from your learners and begin sketching your empathy map. You can do this on paper or in a Word document, or we’ve developed as a Google document Empathy Map Template with fields for the above guiding questions. In the Google document, look under the File menu for an option to Copy it to your own account (or you could Download it as a file). Rename the file to represent yourself. Then complete the template.

After your Empathy Map is complete, try to get additional feedback in one of the following ways:

  • Seek out a colleague within your department/disciplinary area to discuss with him/her. See if there are shared concerns, or perhaps strategies they might suggest that you have not considered.
  • Circle back to your learners to make sure what you’ve captured accurately reflects their experience. This could involve a conversation with one or more of the group you interviewed.

Take a photo of your map and upload it when you complete your response to this activity.

This activity is part of the Empathize section of the Technologist Module.

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Resources for this Activity

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9 Responses for this Activity

  • All We Need is a Little Empathy
    by Mel Young (@melyoung00)

    Since I work in a teaching and learning centre, I used faculty as the subjects of my Empathy Map.

  • Empathy Map
    by Lynn Chartrand (@lynn_chartrand)

    This is a great reflective activity! It really does give professors an insight into how their students might be feeling.

  • Empathy Map
    by Pamela Koski Bryant (@BryantKoski)
  • Empathy for the win
    by Melanie Lefebvre (@ProfMelLefebvre)

    I love teaching about empathy. And Brene Brown. And empathy maps.

  • Empathy Map
    by Pamela Koski Bryant (@BryantKoski)
  • Empathy Map
    by Sidney (@data_professor)

    My  empathy map of my learners was an interesting reflection. Before the program started and I was designing courses for who I imagined my participants would be, I always wondered if, like Goldilocks, the content would be too hard, too easy, or just right. Without meeting the students that will be involved in the program, more… »

  • Tutor Training
    by Irene Stewart (@IrenequStewart)

    Because the “course” I am working with is essential Tutor Training, I don’t have course feedback forms to work with. At the recent leadership day, I asked for feedback that would help me with this activity. The tutors were happy to share and it also generated some ideas for things we could improve in both more… »

  • Empathetically Mapping The Future
    by Steven Secord (@stevensecord)

    I wrote a blog post where I discuss how I created an Empathy Map using Course Evaluations… not exactly how it is suppose to be done but I try to tie it all together.

  • Getting to Know: An Empathy Map Experience
    by Helen DeWaard (@hj_dewaard)

    Completing the empathy map helped clarify pain points and gain points for students in both the F2F course and online courses I teach. Focusing on what I believe are the responses to key points – what students say, do, hear, feel, see, and think as they progress through a course offering. While pre-course surveys help more… »

1 Resource for this Activity

  • Empathy Map Template (Google Document)
    shared by Alan Levine (@cogdogblog)

    Use this link to directly make a copy of the template that can be saved to your own Google Drive.

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