• Toby Sinclair

How to supercharge a workshop with Learning Maps

I’m sure we have all been to many workshops and the first thing a facilitator presents is the agenda for the day. If you are lucky this might be on a flip chart or even worse its powerpoint slide 1 of 100. Your initial thoughts, this is going to be a long day.

Introducing Learning Maps

Learning Maps are an interactive and metaphorical way to present your agenda. People learn best through experience so a learning map creates an instant connection to the workshop topics.

Here is a Learning Map I used at a Coaching workshop:

Awesome visual “learning map” in coaching workshop by @ItJustBroke @TobySinclair_ #TestBash https://t.co/yrUxtyY3yA — sʇooɥɔS qınH (@huibschoots) March 23, 2017
Best agenda ever at @ItJustBroke & @TobySinclair_ coaching workshop #TestBash https://t.co/SptgFDCTye — Vernon Richards (@TesterFromLeic) March 23, 2017

This Learning Map consists of the following elements:

  1. A metaphor, in this case an island, which allows learners to connect to the topic in a simple way. The agenda is represented by the different places on the island (Coaching Caves, Lagoon…..)

  2. A mixture of words and images which engage different parts of the learners brain.

  3. Blank space for the learner to record their thoughts before and after the workshop which is good for reflective practice. Also enough blank space for the learner to make the map their own.

My inspiration for Learning Maps comes from Sharon Bowman, author of Training from the Back of the Room. In the book she explains that through Learning Maps learners will:

  1. Create visual images of important concepts

  2. Engage in a variety of ways to learn: visual/spatial, linguistic, logical/mathematical, and kinaesthetic.

  3. Use both hemispheres of their neocortex or thinking brain

  4. Lengthen long-term retention of important information

  5. Remain involved and engaged throughout the entire direct instruction

  6. Leave the training with a visually interesting reminder of what they learned.

So next time you are facilitating a workshop why not try out using a Learning Map. They are a really simple but super powerful tool to help boost your learners experience!

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©2020 by Toby Sinclair.