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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2 Responses Completed for this Activity

  • Empathetically Mapping The Future (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 (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… Read more »

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