Visual Note-Taking 101 with The Lemon Collective

Hi everyone!

Have you ever wanted to explain something to someone but couldn’t find the words? Well, you’re in luck!  I’m teaching a course on visual note-taking with The Lemon Collective DC on Saturday, January 20th at 11AM! In this course, you’ll learn:

– How to use visual processing theory to improve your visual communication
– How to use visuals to boost memory retention, develop creative ideas, and share knowledge quickly & effectively
– How to draw out basic concepts and ideas
– How to tell a visual story with simple shapes, symbols, and visual cues

Recognizing visual patterns is built into us. You don’t need to be an artist to be an effective visual note-taker. Come ready to draw, be creative, laugh, and learn! This course is for both beginners and those who have experience with visual note-taking. Take a look at pictures from the last visual note-taking event below at The Lemon Collective. (Tickets sold out in two days so be sure to grab yours before they go!)

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Some examples of visuals you’ll learn how to draw: 
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Learning Into Action: Visual Capture of AEA2017

Hi friends! Two weeks ago, I attended the American Evaluation Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, DC. I had the pleasure of working with Michael Quinn Patton in his session on Principles-Focused Developmental Evaluation and attending a few other stellar sessions. It was so great to see so many of you there and catch up on all of the cool and interesting evaluation work you are all doing! The visuals that I created during the conference are below. Happy reading!



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Visualize it: Michael Quinn Patton’s Principles for Facilitating Evaluation

As evaluators, we know that learning from evaluation occurs when the process is rooted in partnership and is accommodating to different learning styles. That’s why Michael Quinn Patton (Founder and CEO of Utilization-Focused Evaluation) and I collaborated to share key findings from Michael’s recently published book, Facilitating Evaluation, in a creative and engaging way. In his book, Michael outlines five principles for facilitating evaluation:

  1. Be guided by the personal factor
  2. Engage through options
  3. Observe, interpret, adapt
  4. Embed evaluative thinking throughout
  5. Facilitate to the leading edge
  • For auditory learners, tune into this MQPodcast which includes a conversation between Michael and me about Michael’s reflections on the book.
  • For tactile learners, take a look at some of the experiential learning techniques Michael describes in his book (some of which are included in the visuals below).
  • For visual learners, take a look at the visuals I created that detail the five principles of facilitating evaluation that Michael outlines in his book below:







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Together We Grow: InsideNGO’s 2017 Annual Conference

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well. Earlier this summer I attended InsideNGO’s Annual Conference. The conference was learning-focused, productive, and fun. Take a look at the visuals I created for the different sessions I attended below: INGO_4INGO_1INGO_2 INGO_3



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TRG’s Tips for Effective Facilitation

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful summer. Last week, I attended the Training Resources Group (TRG)’s Effective Facilitation training. I learned how to deal with difficult behaviors, how to create an environment for optimal brainstorming, and how to use the power of silence to drive reflection and learning. Take a look at the visual I created from day 1 of the course!



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Visual Storytelling at the 2017 Special Olympics Inclusive Health Forum

Hi there! A few weeks ago, I attended the Special Olympics Inclusive Health Forum in Washington, DC. I learned so much from the advocates, policymakers, and leaders in the room. Take a look below at some of the visuals I created for the Forum (if you can’t tell, I really enjoy what I do!)




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Beauty in the Eye of the Pen-Holder

Hi all! Yesterday, I helped TA a course at Johns Hopkins University on Improving Global Public Health Through Knowledge Application, Continuous Learning, and Adaptation. I led a World Cafe session on visual note-taking as an approach for capturing and sharing knowledge. I was so impressed by the skills and creativity in the room. There was a great deal of interest in the session, so I thought I’d share the visual note-taking handout I created along with the notes from the day. The notes below include presentations by Piers Bocock on Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA), Tara Sullivan on the S-Process, and Eva Schiffer on Net Mapping.




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Visual Landscape of Learning Agendas at USAID

Hello! It’s been a while. I hope you are all doing well. I’m so thrilled to be sharing the visuals I created for a recent report that my colleagues at USAID LEARN, Matt Baker and Laura Ahearn, wrote about the landscape of learning agendas at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). To learn more about the initiative, take a look at Matt’s and Laura’s blog post and stay tuned for more updates on learning agendas from USAID’s Learning Lab. Let me know what you think of the visuals below:


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Evaluation + Design: Visuals from #Eval16

Hi friends! I hope the last few days of 2016 are wrapping up nicely for you. Earlier this year, I attended the American Evaluation Association’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme of this year’s conference was: “Evaluation + Design.” My biggest take away from the conference was the heavy focus on learning. There’s quite a lot to sift through here, so I’ll let the visuals speak for themselves. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the sessions I attended, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.












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MERLTech 2016: So, What Have We Learned?

Hello friends! A few weeks ago, I attended MERLTech 2016 and perused my visual notes from the MERLTech 2015 before the conference began. My key take aways from MERLTech 2015 (indicated by a green star in the notes) were:

  1. We don’t ask frequently enough how often M&E projects become self-supported and are sustained long term.
  2. Successful organizations focus more time/resources on training decision-makers how to interpret data and less on improving the accuracy of the data itself.
  3. When it comes to tech tools, it’s important to understand what participants are already using and use that platform to communicate/collect data.
  4. We are learning the same lessons over and over again. We end our reports with “lessons learned” but are we actually learning? (Spolier alert: No). How can we actually help our teams and organizations to learn?
  5. If we really want to have “locally-led” initiatives, we need to reverse our thinking around who “owns” the data we are collecting.
  6. Before putting time and resources into answering learning questions – check to see if others have sought to answer those same questions already.
  7. A well-functioning relationship between MERL and program management is critically important.

So, have we actually learned since MERLTech 2015? Take a look at the visual recap of MERLTech 2016 below and post your comments. What have you learned this past year? Stay tuned for a follow on blog post from me on USAID’s Learning Lab site!


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