Practical Empathy:
Tools for Understanding and Designing for your Learners

MAY 15, 31 & JUNE 12 |
5:15 P.M. - 6:15 P.M. EST




Understanding our learners’ needs and wants is critical to designing relevant and compelling experiences. But do we have the tools and skills we need to uncover that data, and do we know what to do with it once we have it? Join us as we learn with Sara Stump, strategist, designer and researcher, who will share insider research tools that will help us better understand and design for our learning communities.

Session Overviews:

Session 1 Interviewing:

How to identify audiences and ask the right questions. This session will focus on qualitative research basics in the form of interviews. We will explore all the steps to designing a research plan of action. This will include recruiting (audience identification), goal-setting, and writing interview questions that will accomplish your research goals.

Session 2 Processing information:

Affinity mapping: This session will focus on how to organize and categorize information so that you are set up for action. We will walk through how to map out information from interviews and draw conclusions based on patterns that we see.

Session 3 Processing information:

Empathy Mapping: This session will focus on using interview information to generate empathy maps. We will explore how empathy mapping can offer a unique way of looking at data, and how you can best utilize this artifact to gain deeper insight into your audience.


Sara Stump is a strategist, designer and researcher who is inspired by human interaction. She has a B.F.A in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology, and an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation and Education from Harvard University. She spends much of her time as a creative partner – embedding with teams to understand internal and external problems in order to help come up with and execute action plans. She has a broad range of skills in design research from facilitating prototyping workshops with digital instruction teams to leading student engagement and motivation studies. She supports product design teams by providing vision that is grounded in human-centered design and inspired by solid research. In the community she has been involved with various industrial design schools and organizations as well as a leader for Glovebox, a non-profit that promotes the work of up-and-coming artists. In her free time she loves being “Aunt Sarie” to her nieces and nephews, cooking for her friends, and traveling with her husband.