The Learning Canvas

Ideas are great. Impact is better.

No time to read — download The Learning Canvas here

The Story

At Dare Devils we organize a lot of events. From meetups to hack jams to learning labs to festivals. In a complex world — we give you options.

But how many of those options actually make an impact? I read a lot of books — each book contains multiple Aha! moments — but to be honest I can only remember a few that I actually tried out — even fewer that made an impact.

Conferences are even worse. They are like an Aha! moment on steroids. Multiple tracks, multiple sessions, great speakers, and lots of like-minded people to challenge your thinking. Let’s fast-forward a few weeks, a quarter, how many of those great ideas do you still remember? How many have you tried out? How many made an impact?

True — we are not talking about “How to plant tomatoes”. Designing organizations and products is complex. Just damn hard.

How can we improve the personal learning experience? How can we design for impact? Let’s zoom in on one particular action. How do people take notes? I started to observe conference attendees. Few people take notes. I found that surprising. Those who do either capture content in a big blob of text, fewer use a mind map, some do a really great job turning it into a little piece of art using sketch noting.

Most people only capture the “how to”. Impact comes from being able to translate options to your own context, validate them and adapt. The people I interviewed only capture notes during the conference but do not iterate on those notes after the conference. Therefor notes become static content.

Let’s improve. Meet The Learning Canvas.

The Learning Canvas

The Learning Canvas is an emergent learning tool. It allows you to capture, design, challenge, communicate, and pivot your learnings.

Use The Learning Canvas to capture your learnings at the office, conferences or while reading a book on the sofa.

It is designed to make you think different about those Aha! moments!

  • Which problem does it solve?
  • How will you benefit from it?
  • How do you make it happen?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • What could push you forward?
  • How do you measure impact?

The Learning Canvas is a living document. Write down what you now now. Fill in the gaps as learning emerges. Your journey starts here.

The proof is in the pudding. Join us at Hooked Festival from June 1–4 where The Learning Canvas will be put to the test.

Help us improve

Share your insights and help us improve The Learning Canvas. Download the canvas. Give it a try. How did you use it? What worked for you and what didn’t? How would you improve the canvas? Which labels would you name different? In which order would you present the blocks?

Join the discussion on our community Slack — Dare Talk.
Not a member yet? Sign up here

Share and Remix

The Learning Canvas is licensed as Creative Commons. You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • for any purpose, even commercially

Free culture works. Read license

Organizing a conference or workshop? Make a specific themed version of The Learning Canvas for your event. Give it some color, rename the labels to match your audience, design a funky layout. Using it at home and want to pimp the canvas with dragons, unicorns and pink flowers. Great!


Behind the Scenes

The idea of using a canvas to improve the personal learning experience came to me on the evening of March 27. First draft was created the same evening — index cards sketches followed by a simple boxed design in Google Drawing. Gathered feedback using a dedicated channel on our community Slack. Few days later our Designer Linda polished the design. Meanwhile our first product page was created — a place where people can download, discuss and learn how to share the canvas. Revisited the canvas footer design during my Easter Holiday with kids at Phantasialand. Wrote this post on April 24.

A fun experiment that took less than one month to go from idea to product. I might seem a long time to get the canvas out the door. The hardest and most time-consuming part was getting feedback on the first draft.


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