EMPATHIZE with your learners

Design thinking starts with empathy. When you design something that is going to be used by someone else—a lecture, an activity, an assessment—you must first understand what that person needs. For example, when architects design a building, they put aside their own desires and think about what the users of that building need.

This exercise asks you to empathize with your user—your learner—to identify a challenge that could be solved through the purposeful use of technology in your curriculum.

Extend Activity

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 an Empathy Map Template with fields for the above guiding questions. Go into the File menu on the Google document and make a copy of the file. Rename the file for yourself and complete the template.

Take a photo of your map and Tweet it to @OntarioExtend, using the #oextend hashtag.