Learning SenseMaker

Published by Tony Quinlan on

I’m in Antrim, Northern Ireland tomorrow, working with a bunch of smart people who are using SenseMaker to understand patients’ experience of healthcare across the region – it’s called the 10,000 Voices project.

We met a few months ago, when I ran a one-day introduction to the principles of SenseMaker, how to design projects and how to implement them and collection of micro-narratives. Tomorrow will be what happens next – how do we interrogate the fabulous data that’s been collected.

Some of it will be focused on the basics of using SenseMaker Explorer, a specialist software tool that can be incredibly powerful, but can be confusing the first time you sit down to use it. The potential use (even of the current desktop version) is huge – and this more than compensates for the learning curve and look and feel of the product which is a little outdated. (I’ve had a sneak preview of the new version for iOS devices and it looks great and should be available soon…)

I remember when I first saw SenseMaker® being demonstrated – it made little sense at the time: a subject that I knew nothing about and a quick run-through. Using it the first time wasn’t much easier – a large blank screen can be daunting when you’re not sure where to start. (That’s the case for me at least – I’m sure brighter folk are happier to dive in.)

So a couple of years ago, I came up with a set of slides “Making Sense of SenseMaker” as an initial reference document for clients using the system themselves. Since then, I’ve given it out to plenty of people and know of some people who sat down with those slides and taught themselves.

Tomorrow, like the UNDP earlier this year, will be a much more interactive session. I’m still, however, concerned that the half-life of a workshop session is short and doesn’t last through to the point that you need it – the moment you actually start using SenseMaker.

So – a possible project for 2015 – a better Introduction to exploring SenseMaker® data. The question is what format – a workbook? a series of short videos, each one taking a small bite-size action? or something else?

Your thoughts?


Rondon · 16 December 2013 at 6:23 pm

Are you wishing away 2014 or are you anticipating a Lord of the Rings trilogy exploring the sensemake landscape that will take 14 months to complete.

ThinkClarity2 · 30 December 2013 at 10:11 pm

Tony. How about short bite-sized videos in which you coach a couple of people through their use of a workbook on exploring SenseMaker data. This is a video equivalent of the highly-rated approach used by Michel Thomas in his language courses which, BTW, appears to use an evolutionary approach rather than one based on learning outcomes! If you are not familiar with Michel Thomas’ approach, his website (or the website of his organisation as he is no longer alive) is at http://www.michelthomas.com/. Cheers. Paul

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