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.

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 Tweet it to @OntarioExtend, using the #oextend hashtag.


Activity Source


image credit: “Wall of Empathy (2)” flickr photo by CarbonNYC [in SF!] shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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12 Responses Completed for this Activity

  • ESL Students Challenges (Gelareh Keshavarz, @GelaKeshavarz)

    I looked at my student’s feedback and takes to a number of colleagues and came up with this empathy map. I really want to use this as n evaluation tool 🙂 Gelareh

  • Carte d'empathie pour mon cours (Emmanuel Nadeau, @nadeau_emmanuel)

    Voici la carte d’empathie que j’ai créée grâce aux réactions à mon cours “Inégalités sociales et économiques: enjeux et solutions”

  • Identify the challenges for my learners (Ronald Menard, @RonaldMenard9)

    Empathy brings us to experience the learner’s perspective and to create an environment that is favourable to enhance one’s learning experience.  Most of the feedback/information that was gathered from my students were from posts, E-Mails, written assignments, informal discussions in the classroom. Next, I needed to identify the important challenges that my students had expressed… Read more »

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

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

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

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

  • Empathy Map (Pamela Koski Bryant, @BryantKoski)
  • Empathy Map (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,… Read more »

  • Tutor Training (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… Read more »

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