IAF Methods

Hooking into prior knowledge

by for . Last edit was about 2 years ago
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A mind map exercise as an opening of a training session or workshop

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To begin a session by having participant tap into their own knowledge about the topic


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  • tables set up for groups of 3 - 5 participants
  • each group to be provided with a flipchart and markers



  • Ask participants to form teams of 3-5 participants.
  • Ask them to put the topic to be uncovered in the centre of the flip chart e..g for Time Management you could actually use Time Management as the topic.
  • Ask participants to branch off this topic as much as they collectively know using a mind map method (You may need to explain).
  • Allow approximately 5 - 10 minutes for this.
    Ask participants to then form connections between the branches where appropriate.
  • Ask participants to take a look at other teams mind maps and add any additional ideas they see, to their own maps.
  • Put these maps on the wall and congratulate participants on the amount they already know and suggest that you would like help them build on this information and as they already know so much this is going to be easy.


Usual or Expected Outcomes: Mind maps of shared knowledge about a given topic.

Potential pitfalls: not knowing about mind mapping or reluctant to use it .


Source: David Gibson

Derived from: Mind mapping

History of Development: unknown

Alternative names: Mind Mapping prior knowledge.

"We often work with learners that have a high 'entering ability', ie they have a lot of experience and probably know more than they think they do. Likewise we often get learner that think they know very little about the workshop topic. To really get things off to a flying start, as a facilitator we need to hook into that prior (or entering) knowledge as fast as possible. That way learners have something to connect the new information to immediately making the transfer of the new skill easier to accommodate"

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