Word Cloud

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This is a tool for collecting associations in a small group or team context. In the first step, participants gather associations, in the second they prioritize them.

Time 30 minutes

Material Standard

Group Size 3-many

Keywords ideation, association, creativity


Handbook #4

N. Zimmermann, E. Leondieva, M. Gawinek-Dagargulia

Fourth Handbook for Facilitators: Read more


  • Participants gain an overview about the different aspects they associate with the different topics
  • They inform each other on the diversity of associations with certain topics in their group or team


Make sure that learners are in a relaxed and focused mood. Background music or inspiring decorations in the learning space may support this. For each group of three/four people, prepare 5 to 7 sheets with one word on each sheet in the center (font-size 36pt). Example words might include:



1. From small groups with 3 or 4 participants. While 2 or 3 people sit back-to-back on the floor, the third/fourth person receives a sheet with words.

2. The person with the sheet reads the first word out loud. The other 2 participants make free associations between the words, speaking them out loud. The person reading writes down the associations on the paper.

3. After 1 minute another is read and the process is repeated with all of the 5 to 7 sheets.


Ask participants to analyze their word clouds.

  • Which are the five most important or interesting associations on each sheet? Mark them.

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. Coordinator of the project DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship. Secretary of the DARE network. Topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience. Email: office@dare-network.eu

Marta Anna Gawinek-Dagargulia

Marta Anna Gawinek-Dagargulia

Facilitator, coordinator of empowerment programs, author and program manager in the fields of cultural activism and civi education. Lives in Warsaw (Poland), head of SKORO association.


This method is a good starting point for a second step. For example, the most important aspects might be used for a project concept or as the main topic of an article.