Learning Curve

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Ask participants to visualize their back activities like a project or the activity within a longer learning process. The vizualition will be made in form of a learning curve. The horizontal axis describes time, the vertical axis describes the feeling associated with the activity/project and the learning outcome.

Time 1-2 hours

Material template on A3 paper, paper and pens

Group Size 3-20 people

Created By nez

Keywords learning process, evaluation, validation


Also interesting:


  • Making key situations for learning visible
  • Making the realistical ups and downs of a learning process visible and accessible for evaluation
  • Helping participants to describe their learning in a precise way.

This method follows the idea of the here introduced model of non-linear learning progress.


Preparation: Give each participant a blank sheet with a coordinate system. Take care, that the Y-axis is in the middle of the sheet. The x-axis must include as well negative values.

  • Ask them to fill this out by having the whole process in mind.
  • For a project activity this is from the first phase of concept-development to the end of accounting and reporting.
  • For a longer learning process this is from the first step into the process to the end.

↑ feeling

Individual work: Participants work individually on their curves. They might use words, notes, paint. Each curve might be different, there is no need for standardization.

Exchange: You might now form smaller groups from 2-5 persons. Allow participants to find those people they want to work with. It might nbe very helpful to have a moderator for each group.

  • Present your curves. Explain the high-lights, the low-points and where you learned the most - and what.
  • Explore similarities and differences
  • What did you perceive before the work on the curves?
  • What suprises you?


  • Project work and learning is characterized by ups and downs. This is a realistical perspective and not asign of individual weakness.
  • The most valuable sources for reflection are the curve’s turning points and the ambiguous areas like confusions or sources of learning
  • How team members perceive processes differently? Does this interrealte with past conflicts or disagreements?


Individuals cannot perform at 110% for a long term period even if they want to or think they can. Especially in volunteer projects, life is a wild combination of certainty and uncertainty involving personal friendships, studying, need for further learning, and dramatic life changes. This method makes participants clear, that success and failure balance each other. We bid farewell to a learning model that shows linear success stories.

Furthermore this method is a good starting point for the evaluation process. It might help to prepare participants for sum-up-talks within teams or with mentors or teachers. [1]


  1. N. Zimmermann: /Mentoring Handbook - Providing Systemic Support for Mentees and Their Projects; Berlin 2012; MitOst; ISBN 978-3-944012-00-1