Service Landscapes That Build Empathy

Educational designers can build 'service landscapes' to develop empathy with our learners and their family.

Photo of Bradley Roche
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Here's some musings about an approach I haven't tried yet... But it could be something.

As many know, in education and learning, the landscape, communication and engagement between our learning centres, learners and their families is multi-layered, interwoven, complex and often complicated. 

Mapping the landscape in which our learners are placed through genuine co-design and problem analysis is a powerful 'doorway' to empathy - and therefore better educational outcomes. 

If we as designers of learning have a deep understanding of the landscape that our learners are navigating and working hard to move through - over and above the learning - then we better equip ourselves to empathise with them. Through that empathy, we have the opportunity to better understand the challenges they face, the problems they are experiencing, and the approaches to learning that will 'cut through' the landscape. 

Higher educational outcomes just could be the result - and perhaps more importantly, learners who feel and know we understand them better.

I can't wait to get the chance to dedicate some time to testing this idea!

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

ThinkPlace, through their work in understanding the complexities of being poor, illustrate a model of developing empathy. Check out: Watch Darren Menachemson's TEDxCanberra talk and hear about an 'empathy revolution':


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Photo of Jessica Lura

Bradley Roche --Thanks for sharing. I really liked the ThinkPlace link and agree about the importance of diving into the complexities of our learners and their lives.

Photo of Bradley Roche

Same here Jessica! Even just those 'snippets' of extra information and learning we gain about our learners are so powerful when we keep them in mind when teaching. Imagine what we could do with a deep understanding of the environment, setting, aspirations, current skills/knowledge, and the problems our learners are facing - both as people and learners!

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