Part 1 Graphic Facilitation to Engage Learners: Why and How?

During my Instructional Skills Workshop one of my peers did a fabulous 10 minute teaching session on “how to buy clothes you love.” She seamlessly wrote down key words as she spoke while interweaving key diagrams that represented her points. It was engaging and memorable. To this day I can remember her key points every time I go shopping because she engaged me verbally and visually. Since that day graphic facilitation is something I always wanted to explore in my teaching. I came across it again when I went over to a friend’s house and I was deliberating about a life decision. She is a life coach and readily whipped out her marker at her whiteboard and starting sketching what I was saying and asked key questions to gain more clarity and tease out the main themes. It was powerful. I saw my issue in a more holistic way rather than a jumble of ideas in my head. After that I decided that when I get time I will take a graphic facilitation course but until then I wanted to blog about this amazing teaching technique and start to gain some basic skills so that I can use it when I teach right now! You don’t need to be an artist, just check out the videos below and get started now…

This first video explores why graphic facilitation is helpful for teaching. This teacher uses a program called Sketchbook pro but you will see in the later videos that all you really need is paper or a whiteboard and some markers.

This second video explore what graphic recording is and how it helps. It talks about it mostly in the context of a meeting but these skills are just as effectively transferred to make more meaning of learning. It can be used to sketch out almost anything. Teasing out key concepts to anchor that learning for students. You can use it on your first class to record the class rules and expectations, you can use to when exploring different ethical issues, looking at different approaches to a problem, etc. It can be used when multiple viewpoints, voices and ideas exist. This is how it can help with teaching:

  • So students can see the big picture
  • Anchors learning on a deeper level because it engages both the right and left brain. See my previous blog post …. <link>
  • To keep people on task by engaging them through visuals
  • Captures people’s voices (which further promotes engagement, and breeds a safe learning environment. Bringing the overarching value that “your voice counts!”
  • It allows for more effective communication (because people are paying better attention to what others are saying)
  • A photo of the graphic can mailed out or posted on a classroom blog, online forum so that students can refer back to it

Here are three videos that will help you get started. I know I am inspired to put this into action…

1) This video explores the tools you need to get started (though personally, I think you can pair this down)

2) This video looks at your first 7 steps to graphic facilitation

3) This video is the 8th step: create a visual language


Now you have all you need to get started.  As with anything new it requires some patience, practice and a leap of faith…. happy drawing.

Check out Part 2 of my Graphic Facilitation discussion next week.


Bigger Picture (2013). Learning graphic facilitation-Tools. [Video file]. Available at

Bigger Picture (2013). Learning graphic facilitation-Tools. [Video file]. Available at

Bigger Picture (2014). Learning graphic facilitation-Tools. [Video file]. Available at

Gadsby, T. (2012). What is graphic recording? [Video file]. Available at

Hanks, K. (2013). What is the biggest mistake when teaching visual learners? [Video file]. Available at





About turnera2014

I am a Nursing (RN) Instructor taking the Professional Instructor Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College in hopes to challenge my current teaching modalities and inspire me to be the best teacher I can be.
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