Know Want Learn Mapping for Authentic Storytelling

1 hours

Short overview:

The workshop will introduce the participants to the Know Want Learn Map, a brainstorming tool to help young people to identify a topic or issue they care about. This technique encourages young people to delve deeper into a topic, to identify how and where to find answers to questions they have and to create original and authentic stories.

Objectives of the workshop:

  • To learn how to use the Know Want Learn Map as a brainstorming tool
  • To learn how to delve deeper into a topic, issue or need
  • To learn about interviewing tools and techniques to create original stories

Activity adapted from: Adobe Youth Voices Program Guide
Available on:

Methods: Demonstration of How it Works Trainer’s introduction
Materials: Flipchart Markers Projektor
5 mins.
Material usage/Remarks:

Projector with KWL Map graphic on screen
or Markers, Flip Chart with KWL Map hand drawn


Introduction to Know Want Learn Map. Explain how it is used to brainstorm a topic.

How it Works:

Know - what young people already know about a topic or subject? e.g. veganism
Want - what they would like to learn, what questions they have about the subject or topic? e.g. Is it all hype or are there benefits for us and for the planet? What are the benefits?
How - how they will find answers to their questions? e.g. interview Joe Bloggs, do a survey of their peers, etc.

Methods: Small Groups Activity
Materials: Markers Paper
15 mins.

Activity: Know, Want, Learn Mapping for Authentic Storytelling

Invite the group to explore a topic using the Know Want Learn Map (KWL).

  • Divide the group into small teams of 3-4 people.
  • Identify possible subjects for a media project by creating the KWL target map.
  • Ask participants to place a key topic or issue in the centre (perhaps related to the ‘Big Idea’ you’ve introduced).
  • Together brainstorm all the questions they might have about the topic.
  • Formulate how they might learn the answers based on these questions.
Methods: Group discussions
5 mins.

Wrap up the KWL Mapping activity above. Trainer explains the following:

The process creates a bull’s eye-type map in stages. By the time they finish, they will have a map that suggests a number of stories and will help youth make a decision about their ultimate goal.

  • This is the most important key to making the map work: participants spending time thinking about their goals and the things they’re going to explore in their project.
  • Remember that when working on topics, be sure to distinguish between what participants “like” and what they really “care about.”
  • They may be crazy about a particular artist, movie, or song, but what topics in their world are they really passionate about? What stories in the news or their neighbourhood make them angry or sad?
  • These are the topics they’ll be dedicated to exploring, especially if in their projects they can somehow identify ways to fix a problem or bring people together. Ask the participants to quickly share the topic they have decided to explore.
Methods: Small Groups Activity
Materials: Markers Paper
15 mins.
  1. Next build a question guide by developing interview questions. Ask participants in their groups to formulate questions that explore these topics. Frame them as open-ended questions, such as:
    • “Tell me about an experience...”
    • “What are the best/worst parts about...?”
    • “Can you help me understand more about...?”
  2. Next, ask participants to organize their questions. Organize questions using the following structure:
    • Start specific: begin with questions your participants are comfortable answering.
    • Go broad: ask more profound questions about hopes, fears and ambitions.
    • Probe deep: explore your challenge or any interesting theme you picked up on during the con- versation in more depth. Consider prompting thoughts with “what if” scenarios.

To finish up, ask the participants to collate their questions into a question guide that is very readable, so you can glance at it quickly during your conversation.

Methods: Role play activity
Materials: Flipchart paper Markers Paper Smarthphones
15 mins.
Material usage/Remarks:

Story starters/props to explain topic to interviewee Question Guide


Activity: Preparing and Practicing for an Interview

A. Build tangible conversation starters. It can be helpful to share early ideas or concepts in your conversation, particularly if you are working on an abstract idea - it only serves the purpose of gaining a better understanding of your topic. You can create a sketch, build a simple cardboard representation or describe a scenario that your participants can respond to.

B. Confirm your plans Confirm date, time and location for your research activities. Agree on logistics, including transportation, with your team.

C. Assign roles Designate one person to lead the interview. Select a second person who will focus on watching participants’ body language and facial expressions. Decide which team member will take notes, and choose a photographer. Remember to ask permission before taking any photos.

D. Prepare your equipment Make sure to gather materials for your fieldwork ahead of time:

  • Question guide
  • Participants’ contact details
  • Team members’ contact details
  • Directions to location
  • Notepads and pens
  • Camera (load batteries!)
  • Mobile phones
  • Thank you gifts for participants (if applicable)
  • Post-it notes, Sharpie markers

Get Interviewing!

Ask the participants to practice interviewing each other using the question guide and conversation starters prepared above.

Ask participants to review footage to analyse what worked/didn’t work
Finish up the session by asking them to note what lessons they learned and add them to the Lessons Learned flip chart sheet on the wall.

Methods: Trainer Wrap Up
5 mins.

Wrap up the session.

Review lessons learned from the interviews on Flipchart paper.

Connect the session back to the theory part of the chapter. Reflect on the Know, Want, Learn Map as a tool to foster critical thinking and problem solving skills in young people.


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