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Force Maps

Cloud created by:

Yishay Mor
18 January 2013

This cloud is part of the Personas & Force Maps in Scenarios activity of OLDS MOOC week 2. It is derived from an activity developed for the "Learning Design Studio" section of the OU H817 module “Openness and innovation in elearning” (

Your (shared) list of factors and concerns document is probably quiet extensive, and contains a wide range of items, some of which would dictate critical defining features of your learning design project, and some which would be tangential to it. Some of the items are relevant, but perhaps trivial – you can address them by straightforward means. In order to derive a useful characterisation of your design challenge, you need to select a manageable collection of key factors and concerns. These will be the forces that define your design space. 

 A Force Map is a graphical representation of the context of a design challenge. It includes iconic representations of the key elements in this context (social, material and intentional factors), and lines noting the relationships between them. These relationships are marked "+" when supportive, and "-" when indicating a tension. The design challenge can often be defined in terms of resolving some of these tensions. includes some example force maps.

You can see an example of how we used personas and forcemaps to design the olds mooc.

Use the template at and create a Force Map document. 

  • Review the factors and concerns you have identified, and select the key forces that define the design space.
  • List these forces in your force map document. Give each force a number or identifier, and (optionally) an icon.
  • Note the relations between the forces. Mark supporting relations with “+” and conflicting relations (or tensions) with “-”.
Edit your Force Map document, and add a diagram:
  • Place your personas on the drawing canvas.
  • Connect them to their concerns (represented by icons).
  • Add icons for the forces that mediate between the personas and their concerns
  • Draw lines to denote the relations between forces, and between personas, concerns and forces.
  • Mark supporting relations with “+” and conflicting relations (tensions) with “-”.

 This work by the OU H817 module “Openness and innovation in elearning” (  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

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added by Yishay Mor

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