Mind mapping for responsible design


Assessment type:


Learning outcome:



Mind mapping for responsible design is a visual and summative method aimed at assessing the students’ acquired knowledge through the making of a mind map. The method allows students to interpret and combine topics in their own way by making connections between knowledge and ideas.


Mind mapping for responsible design is a summative method for assessing the knowledge students have acquired through a teaching activity. The activity allows the student to show their ability to make connections between the topics related to values in design.

Mind maps can be described as a graphical method of representing a topic (O’Connor, 2011). The visual structure helps the user represent concepts and ideas with images, colours and symbols if they so wish. A typical mind map might have a central idea and a hierarchical or tree branch format, with ideas branching into their subsections. Although, in practice, there is no compulsory structure.

By asking the students to create a mind map the teacher is able to see whether the intended learning outcomes of the teaching activity have been achieved by asking students to map their knowledge about responsible design based on the suggested assessment criteria listed in the teaching activity.

By asking students to produce mind maps on the basis of specified assessment criteria, the teacher may assess students' acquired vocabulary and knowledge in relation to becoming a responsible designer with knowledge about e.g. ethics and values in design of products, systems or services.


After the teaching activity, ask the students to create mind maps demonstrating their acquired knowledge about becoming a responsible designer. The mind map should address the specified assessment criteria.

Instructions to students:

Step 1:

  • On physical/digital post-its (or similar) identify and note down different technologies, words, concepts, responses, reflections or implications of values in design gained through the teaching activity and aimed at demonstrating knowledge about the stated assessment criterias.

Step 2:

  • Draw connections between the different post-its and describe the connections.

Step 3:

  • Demonstrate your knowledge by elaborating on the mapped technologies, words, concepts, responses, reflections or implications of values in design on the post-its and the described connections in ways that specifically address the listed assessment criteria.

The following steps are optional:

Step 4:

  • Share your mind map with other students.

Step 5:

  • Browse through the other students’ mind maps to deepen and broaden your own knowledge (and revise your mind map if necessary).


When assessing the activity, it is important to focus on the knowledge content of students’ mind maps to capture and address the “visible signs of learning”. When doing a summative assessment the focus is on whether the students are able to sum up their knowledge, relative to the intended learning outcome and relevant assessment criteria. Summative assessment provides the teacher with information on the depth, breadth and recurring patterns related to the student's learning. That is, if the students are able to demonstrate and make visible the new knowledge that they have acquired through the teaching activity.

When assessing the students’ mind maps, it might be helpful to pay attention to the following optional proposals for focus points depending on the content of the related teaching activity:

  • To what extent do the students meet the assessment criteria listed in the teaching activity?
  • How deep and broad are the students' knowledge when it comes to mapping knowledge about values in design?
  • Are there apparent knowledge gaps in the students’ mind maps?
  • Are there obvious connections in the mind map that students did not make, or connections that are particularly strong/weak?

For further professional development consider:

  • Are there specific learning outcomes or assessment criteria that students are particularly successful/unsuccessful in demonstrating?

Are there any exemplary mind maps that work particularly well in addressing learning goals and assessment criteria (consider highlighting these for students to see)?